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Do I have to return sales calls?

By txiso ·
As an IT manager, I get lots of sales calls, especially after I've attended a conference and vendors get my name and title off the attendance list. A lot of the calls are shameless: they say I stopped by their booth (I didn't; I keep materials from every vendor I visit), or they tell the administrative assistant that it's "not a sales call, they're just verifying some information I gave them."

Some write to me in email and say, "Let me know when we can meet next week to discuss <whatever>. I'll call you to set up a time."

Do I really have to respond to these people, even if it's just to say, "Not interested," or can I just ignore them? If I ignore them, am I being unnecessarily rude, or will it just encourage them if I answer them (like spammers)?

I know they're just trying to do their jobs, but they're interfering with MINE if I have to take time to talk to all of them.

What do you think?

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Requirements

by BFilmFan In reply to Do I have to return sales ...

You aren't required to answer sales people pestering.

In fact, you could make a point of not doing business with pests and let them know that when they get past your receptionist.

Spam filters work well on the email issue.

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The General Consensus appears to be no?

by colinc In reply to Requirements

I wonder how the companies you guys work for stay in business/grow. Surely somebody must sell something???

Common curtsy costs nothing, I have a very simple rule is they're calling from a call center they get politely told I am too busy to talk to them. If they are calling directly from another company I take the time to find out way they are calling me, and then decide if the call is relevant.

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Simple Answer

by BFilmFan In reply to The General Consensus app ...

We aren't wasting our time talking to sales people. We busy helping our clients develop their business.

If you have worked for or with Fortune 50, state and federal clients, I am sure that you are well aware of the approved vendors lists. Most organizations use these lists to screen out wasted time spent telling sales people that you are not interested in their product.

And honestly, most sales people I've met over the years don't have a clue how their products work. I wonder if most of them realize the characterizations of them in Dilbert are 100% correct?

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call screening

by donstrayer In reply to Requirements

This is is the reason many of us use answering machines. If I had to pick up the phone every time it rang I'd lose a tremendous amount of productivity. All calls go to speaker phone so I can choose to ignore or not. My regular contacts know that I do this so they start talking and I pick up immediately if I'm available. If I'm not available, they can leave a message. I check messages at my convenience and delete/ignore unwanted sales calls. Once in a while I'll call back a particularly persistent unwanted caller to ask him to stop wasting his time and mine. Otherwise just ignore.

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Having an Open Mind

by techiemikee In reply to call screening

Although phone calls are nearly always an interruption I generally give a business-to-business caller a chance to pitch his or her wares. I?ll never go out of my way to return a voicemail from a cold caller, but will answer their calls if the timing is right and the interruption won?t cause a set back. As a decision maker its my responsibility to hear all the available facts and a 3 minute conversation might lead to saving thousands of dollars or might offer the executives and users a convenience they?d benefit from or could give the core business an edge over the competition. You never know if what is being presented is the hottest new innovation or classic case snake oil unless you hear what they have to say. If it truly is a revolutionary product or service and they somehow find away to schmooze someone higher up the totem pole because you wouldn?t take their calls then you?re looking like the guy who doesn?t have the company?s interest at heart.

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No you don't

by JamesRL In reply to Do I have to return sales ...

If I pick up the phone, I will give them under 30 seconds to make a point and then get rid of them. If I get a voicemail or email, I will listen and not respond if I am not interested.

I was a software salesman once, you can't take it personally.

The one time I was really offended was when I attended a show and entered my name in a draw. The company who had the booth sent out an email to everyone who didn't win telling them so. One of the people who received that email harvested all the addresses and sent us another business invitation. I was upset that company a paid good money for a booth, held a draw, and company b stole the email addresses. I told the person from company b in no uncertain terms that as someone influential in my company I would make sure that we would never do business with someone with that kind of ethics.

James

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holier than thou

by joepfleger In reply to No you don't

I hate this ?holier than thou? attitude that some IT people have towards sales people. The purpose of most companies is to provide a service or product to a customer. And where do these customers come from? They come from sales. You should give the same courtesies to these other companies? sales people as you hope they are giving to your sales people. With out sales you would not have a job.

Who knows the product the sales person is trying to educate you on may be the answer to a problem.

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Courtesies

by noyoki In reply to holier than thou

Courtesy, in my opinion, is not soliciting a client. Sales people have a job to do, sure. But if I am interested in a new mail server, I'll stick my nose out and ask THEM for more information.

Just assuming that I need new case management software just because we are a law firm and not on your client list, is actually rather rude in my opinion. If you are going to cold call me, be prepared to be ignored unless I asked you for the information. If you do happen to have something that solves a problem, leave me a message. I'll let you know.

Having someone call you at least 1x a day for 2 weeks, then be incredulous that you didn't need their software when they finally get you... Well, in my opinion, if they did that to me, they certainly didn't show ME much courtesy.

Also, it isn't a sales person's job to "educate" me on MY OWN network. Being that 4 out of 5 sales guys can barely turn on a computer, how are they supposed to hold a candle to an IT person long enough to "educate" them?

Most will pick up "buzz words". When I had worked for a telemarketing-for-hire company, they had us doing this. We were asked by Citrix to call and survey their current customers once. Our script called for us to use the words "flavors" of Linux, even though I was the only one of about 20 that actually had even HEARD of Linux prior to then, nevermind what flavor was supposed to be. But it was supposed to "bring you closer" to the IT people you were polling.

With Honeywell, we were to rattle off a few facts about CCTV and the like. It was just numbers and words to most people. If they were asked a question, that became quickly apparent.

Note: I do not claim to know everything. But I don't need someone to tell me that we don't have VOIP and we should have it, with all it's features a 30-person firm isn't going to need at a cost we don't really want. I also don't think ANYone will appreciate an outside person (especially with little (or no) IT background) telling them that their network should be protected with this bit of software, and not with a company it already has and has used for years.

(Unless they've been asked by me or my co-worker for information, of course.)

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Advantages of VOIP

by techiemikee In reply to Courtesies

The greatest advantage of VOIP is that you can answer your office calls anywhere there is an internet connection, I see that as a tremendous value for any business that has a decent amount of volume, especially Law Firms maybe you should have let the sales person educate you more there is a reason why it is one of the fastest growing segments in Technology.

If one of the attorneys are home or out of town working out of a hotel, the other employees and Senior Partners, etc don't have to track them down they simply push the exact same extension button they always did and connected to them just like the person is in their office. Unless there is a surplus of time in your office or everyone is always present and accounted for it could be useful not to mention save time. For attorney offices that split cases with attorneys in other states to satisfy local bar requirements its an invaluable tool.

I say this and I don't even sell it, I'm just aware of all its possibilities.

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Re: Voip

by noyoki In reply to Advantages of VOIP

And you of course know the structure of our law firm too.

The fact that we have 1 office in 1 state and about 11 attorneys total (this includes partners, associates and 1 law clerk that passed his exam and is awaiting admission to bar) isn't going to be well known to a sales person. (You just proved that.) That we always have 2 or more attorneys on a case (1 sr. partner, 1 junior partner and sometimes 1 associate) means that we don't really ever have to go out and "look" for people to make a decision. Also, unless you're me (the IT department) because there's only one of me in the firm, when you are on vacation, the questions get answered by your partner.

Like many places, we have rules preventing 2 people from taking a vacation at the same time (especially if they're on the same case), and quite honestly, we've never run into that problem anyway. The senior partners all have Blackberries that they carry whenever they are not in the office, and everyone else is, for the most part, able to take a week off and not be so badly missed that the case or firm would grind to a halt for a week.

I would much rather spend my time reviewing mail server software, which we desperately need (I inherited on Netware 4.2 - GroupWise 5.5 when I started here) as it crashes at least once a week, than a Voip solution that, being the firm stated above, is one of the lowest priorities.

I would absolutely love to have every new toy as it comes out. But my bosses would kill me. Budget aside, they don't want to be cutting edge (as shown by our server). They want something that works. VOIP still has its issues to work out. Until I am certain it is rock solid, I'll pass. I am held responsible when something breaks and for lost productivity.

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