For IT shops, vendor cold calls can be a royal pain. Here's how to save yourself some time and get the folks calling to cut to the chase.
As IT managers, we deal with this everyday, if not several times a day. Some vendor gets through the receptionist and calls your office phone. "We are super technology company X and we can do all of your IT for you, save you time and money and basically make you thank God everyday that you hired us." Wow! Is that awesome or what?
Unfortunately, I get a few of these a day. Which one to choose? We have partners that do a lot of these services already. We have spent the time and effort to certify our partners and already know that they will provide the services that we want with the service level we want at the prices we want.
At the same time, i want to hear out a cold call if they can offer me something different, save me more money, provide me better service. But a vendor cold call that says "I can do everything"? I automatically discount it and actually get a little upset because I think they are wasting my time.
So here's what I do with vendor cold calls, and so far, it's working.
1. If the vendor calls and tells me about a new and exciting service or product, I start the clock. "You have five minutes to tell me what your product is and how it will help me. At the end of that five minutes I will tell you if we're interested, if it's something we want to look at in the future or if I want more information." They respond to that pretty well and the guys or gals who know what they are doing actually step up. If they don't have respect for my time and start to hem and haw, I tell them I don't have time for this.
2. If the vendor calls and tells me that they do everything that is IT, I have a much different approach. It may seem flippant or disrespectful, but I don't have time for a vendor that doesn't do their homework and cannot articulate how they can help my company and address my needs quickly. In my eyes, this lacks consideration for my time on their part. This is typically a fact-finding call to see where they can fit in. I don't have time for that. "I hear from vendors like you several times a day. You have 30 seconds to give me your company's elevator pitch. At the end of that time, if you have not convinced me that I should spend a week re-certifying my existing partners that already provide these services to consider you, then our conversation is over."
If they can't articulate how they're going to help me and convince me to spend time looking at new partners, then I tell them: "Times up. Thanks for calling. Have a nice day." And then I hang up.
Something I have been considering is telling the vendor when our partner re-certification process occurs each year and that they can submit a proposal at that time. Then they will have an opportunity to demonstrate that they've done their homework.
I am interested in finding out how you deal with vendor cold calls. Please comment below with your advice.