I should warn you that I started this article a month ago, before spring had sprung. Springtime has always been a time when salespeople wake up and realize that if they don't change something drastically, this year will be just like the others. Been busy with them.
So, we begin by setting the stage...
A fool with a tool may still be a fool and if you sell a tool to a fool and the fool does not succeed,
it's never the fool's fault.... They always blame the tool.
Elaine and I watch a lot of television, She's hooked on the reality talent shows like American Idol and The Voice and I watch crime, drama, and medical shows. Our cable TV company isn't known for providing a great service, nor great service when you have an issue. So, I started looking for a way to cut the cable cord.
I got an Amazon Fire TV Stick as the first step. Over the past few weeks, I've also bought a few other pieces of hardware to eliminate the need for cable. I returned all but the one that worked. Am I a fool? Those tools did not work, but they were small dollars and I was dealing with reputable companies. So, there was no problem returning the items that didn't fix my problem.
I bought a new Fitbit on February 13th. Don't ask. It wasn't a magic bullet. Does that make me a fool?
However, before I bought the Fitbit, I bought a cheap knock off that was 25% of the price of the real thing. It not only wasn't a magic bullet. It didn't work. It indicated my pulse was racing when it wasn't and that I had walked when I hadn't. I returned it and had to pay return shipping. I felt like a fool, but it was small dollars and I had moved on.
OK. So, all that stuff is happening. Cutting the cable. Getting fit with fitbits. I'm thinking about this article and I see this tweet.
Along the same lines, I had an exchange with a salesperson on LinkedIn.
Me: You use Hubspot?
Him: Not yet, I am looking into Hubspot Sales but don't know if I want to run a second CRM for personal.
Me: Company makes you use SalesForce?
Him: No, worse, Sage CRM They are trying to fix....kinda
I'm not plugging Hubspot or SalesForce, or dissing Sage, but somebody somewhere in that company bought something that may or may not be doing what they hoped it would do and they may or may not be getting the tech/user support that they need.
Here's what I think is happening.
If you ask any startup that is trying to scale, "How many salespeople do you have?" they'll give you a number. If you asked them how many salespeople they've hired, the answer will be at least double and often more. Why? Carrying a quota is hard. Keeping your job is hard. Especially if:
- you’re selling something you believe in but don’t believe in the way you sell it.
- you don't understand people and/or the way they buy.
- you don't understand their business and what makes it tick.
- you aren’t allowed to spend the time to find out.
- the prospect knows it and doesn't trust you to be able to help.
- your sales manager doesn't know how to help.
- the “system” that decides who owns the deals isn’t that smart.
- your sales VP or CEO believe that it's easier to replace you than to fix you.
So, the startup hires a bunch of CSRs, tech support people, etc to help customers that accidentally bought, but don't know how to get done what they need done, but because many of these people are digital natives and cannot relate to people that aren't and/or the CSR has no business experience there's a struggle and the customer becomes increasingly frustrated.
There is no "magic bullet". Business owners need to live by "caveat emptor". If the salesperson has no incentive to make the buyer beware who does? Their job is to sell the “magic bullets” to those that will buy them. Magic bullets don’t exist. Thus the title. The typical salesperson working in the typical system selling the typical magic promise can't help you The salespeople that can help are too busy to help unless you get referred to them personally.
Cutting the cable cord, getting fit, fixing your business with technology… It’s not easy to get rid of cable. It’s not easy to get fit. It's not easy to fix your business. Fool me once…Shame on you. Fool me twice…Shame on me. How many times do you have to get fooled before you believe that you are the fool?
Stop talking to salespeople! Don't take their calls. Don't return their voice mail messages. Don't reply to their salesy emails. If you haven't invited them in, tell them to get lost.
Stand up for your rights as a customer.
You have the right to talk to somebody who actually understands your 'situation' and knows how to focus in on the cause of the problem and upside of getting it fixed.
You have the right to talk to somebody that understands how your business works, economically, competitively, politically and the reasons that you get up and come to work every day.
You have the right to get help comparing the cost of any solution to the cost of doing nothing and deciding which is better for you.
You have the right to get results from a 15 minute conversation rather than have to sit through a 90 minute, high pressure presentation, demo and close.
Can't find that person, let me know. Maybe I can put you together.
Finally, do you know someone
- who knows how to use several of these services and would like to help our clients use them to grow.
- who is active on LinkedIn, Twitter and other social platforms, wants to get better and wants to teach others.
- who likes selling but doesn't want to spend all day, every day selling to make quota.
- but wants to be able to have great conversations result in perfect clients.
- and wants to build a comfortable lifestyle business, but be part of a community of like-minded pros.
If you do, have them contact me personally and talk about being part of what we're doing. One caveat, we will not speak with anyone that is currently an employee of any of our partners.