A Botched Sales Pitch

A Botched Sales Pitch

Mar 31, 2020 | By David Turberfield

A Botched Sales Pitch

It’s just coming up to 6:30am on a Wednesday morning. I’m in my shorts and T-shirt about to head out of the door for a run and my phone rings. This is pretty unusual at that time of the day and I’m curious. It’s a US number. I pick up and Mark from an internet company that shall remain nameless has something to sell me.

I’d just put together a new website for my emerging digital business. It’s up and running, published but I’m not ready to push it out yet. Mark’s clever software has found it and he can see that the search engines are not picking me up. Mark tells me that he can get me up the ranking – in the top 5 hits on all the major search engines within a matter of days.. Awesome… he’s got my ear.

Mark has a great pitch. I am the perfect marketing avatar for what he’s got and he’s making sense. What he is telling me, as he takes me through their demo, has value and I’m learning something – it’s all good. Then he decides to pass me to his colleagues Divan. Having spent a good fifteen minutes building a relationship with me – he signs off. I think that’s a mistake…

Divan’s job is to talk me through the money end. What’s it going to cost me… Okay, I bear with Divan because I’m quite keen to know what Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) costs and I’m getting the information that I need. He’s also building a relationship and I’m once again getting some value. Then Divan is pushing me to sign up for their product on the spot. Now I’m not going to do that so he passes me to yet another person – Tom. So now, Divan has signed off. That’s their second mistake.

Tom introduces himself as the boss and he is going over the pitch AGAIN! Now I’m annoyed. There’s an echo on the line – Tom’s got me on a speaker. I figure it must have been a “let me show you guys how its done…” moment in their office in California. I ask Tom, “have you got me on a speaker?””. “No, no!” says Tom and I’m quickly taken off the speaker and the echo disappears. That’s their third mistake. I’m now talking to a guy who I don’t know, who is pushing too hard, who has lied to me and who is getting in the way of my treasured morning run. That’s it, I’m never buying from these guys!

On my run, I’m reflecting on the call – wondering what I can learn from it. I figure that the key problem was their urgency to convert. They wanted to land a 4 figure sale – which is a pretty hefty ticket for an online purchase – with a 30-minute phone call.

I’ve been doing business in Asia for 25 years and I know that it takes multiple conversations with clients to bring them to the point of sale. In some parts of the region, Korea comes to mind, it can take 6 to 8 meetings for the client to feel comfortable enough to get to the contract. It’s all about the relationship. I’m thinking if these guys are going to push their services into Asia – they are going to need to do things a little different…

Have one person stay on the line with the client for the whole conversation, build the relationship and trust – people buy from people! Don’t pass them around…

Be sensitive to the client’s situation – think about the timing, what they are up to. Listen to them and act accordingly.

Be patient. If there is genuine interest but the client is not quite ready – be sensitive to that, follow up with an email and offer to call again at a later date. Keep building that relationship. Be honest, open and transparent. If the service is really as good as you say it is, the client will buy but they need to trust you! Don’t lie to them.

What these guys had was of genuine interest to me – I am a potential buyer – but they blew it. They failed to build trust, I didn’t feel heard and no matter how great their product or service – it’s just not going to land with me. If you are selling anything, particularly online, you have to learn how to build a relationship with your client. At the end of the day, it comes back to the fact that people buy from people.

Had any interesting marketing calls recently? What do you think really works – particularly online? Share your experience in the comments section. I’d love to hear from you.