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Annoying Salespeople

By kbrown ·
I feel like I'm in an AA/NA meeting.. Hi my name is Kevin, and I'm a salesperson. So many people feel that ethics have all gone the way of the Commodore 64. While this saddens me, I also see more truth to it than I wish to admit.
I am interested to know one thing from all the techs out there. What are some of the worst things salespeople have done to tick you off or loose your trust?
I have no intention of touting my stuff on this website, but I would like your feedback on what you guys think is a reasonable way (if any) for salespeople to approach you.
Nobody likes their day to be interrupted by a salesperson wanting to "take a minute of your time", and e-mail has become an over abused communication link.
Sorry if this strikes a cord or two, but it's an issue that needs to be addressed.

Many Thanks.

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Business sales don't require tricks

by stress junkie In reply to Annoying Salespeople

The one thing I like about being self employed is that sales are easy. Many years ago I sold vaccuum cleaners door to door. That was difficult. Business sales, by comparison, are easy.

The thing that I like about business sales is that the potential client already wants something. All you have to do is to find out what the potential client wants and see if you can provide it. I spent many yeas as a contract employee before I became entirely self employed. I always regarded the contract job interviews as sales meetings. I always had one approach. I would listen to what the potential client wanted and then I would explain how I could provide the stated requirements. Now that I have my own independent business things are pretty much the same. Generating prospects is something that I didn't have to do when I was working through contract houses but otherwise sales to businesses don't require tricks or other unethical practices.

All of that really doesn't address your question, though. As a system administrator I have had many sales meetings where I was the potential client. I rarely found any unethical or even irritating behavior from sales people. As a business customer I have always had good experiences when dealing with sales people. There was just one experience that really bothers me to this day. This happened about 15 years ago and I'm still bitter about it.

I was working as a contract system administrator running DEC VMS machines. My customer had heard about some performance tuning software from the person whom I had replaced and the customer was determined to try it. I went to a sales meeting with others of my client's management. I had read the detailed description of the products and I was very concerned about what the products would do. I expressed my concerns and the sales people assured me that no harm would come to the computer systems as a result of using the products.

Now you have to understand something about my position at this job. Although I was the system administrator I was not in complete authority over the way that the computers were run. There were other direct employees that had their jurisdictions, which they vigorously protected. One of the direct employees was in charge of doing system backups. Unfortunately he didn't do his job very well. He was what we would today call a "script kiddie". He didn't understand what his job required. He didn't understand how to check on the quality of the backups. He didn't want to hear from me about how he could check for errors in the previous night's backups. I would check his work every couple of weeks, tell him of problems that I had found, and make suggestions about how to address these problems. He never adopted any of my suggestions.

So back to our sales story. The sales people sold three products to my customer. One was a dynamic tuning application, another was a disk file cache that replaced the cache that came with VMS, and the third was a disk defragmenting product. Once the sales meeting ended I told my customer's managers that I recommended against using these products. They said that they wanted me to implement the products right away. Okay. Fine. So I did that. Guess what. The disk file cache corrupted files. So when I turned these three products on the disk defragmenter started working away. Unfortunately the files that it processed were sent through the defective disk cache software. Numerous files were corrupted. Once we discovered this I asked the backup guy about restoring the bad files. He had no idea how to do this so I checked the backups. Many of the files that had been corrupted by the faulty disk cache software did not have a recent backup. Ugggh.

I called the vendor of these products and explained the problem. When I said that we had defragmented disks while the cache was running the vendor customer service person just said "Of course. Everyone does that." However they did not have any resolution except to restore from backups. The thing that really bugs me is that the sales people knew about the disk cache problem before they came to sell this junk to my customer. When I expressed concern about the products harming the computer system the sales people said something to the effect that their customer support was available to work through any problems that we encountered. I responded by saying that they and their customer service people were not the ones that had to get the machine running again if a disaster occurred. Once the problem happened and I called their customer service the attitude of the person to whom I spoke was a matter-of-fact "of course that happened". I will never forgive the sales people for assuring my customer, if not me, that any problems that arose from using their products could easily be overcome. That turned out to NOT be the case.

Well the backup guy was allowed to resign. I was allowed to get this stinking software off of the VMS machines. None of the managers that decided to use these products suffered any consequences.

Those sales people were unethical in selling a product that they knew was defective and that would cause a catastrophic data corruption problem.

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Ooooh, a great topic!

by Peter Spande In reply to Annoying Salespeople

I'm asking all of the salespeople that represent TechRepublic to subscribe to this thread. Not only are they salespeople but they talk to the sales and marketing professionals that are selling these technologies. If you have a beef with how you're being treated by sales teams, please know that TechRepublic's team will be watching and ready to rely sales "worst practices" to our sponsors.

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Yeah baby. Spank those sponsors.

by stress junkie In reply to Ooooh, a great topic!

You are funny. :-)

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no spanking,

by Peter Spande In reply to Yeah baby. Spank those sp ...

Our sponsors genuinely want to make the right kind of impact with potential customers. Believe it or not, they ask our sales people how they can do a better job.

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by Jaqui In reply to no spanking,

here I was getting ready for some foreplay and you had to kill that.

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Solictors or salespeople?

by Tink! In reply to Annoying Salespeople

- Ever notice when it gets warm outside that the salespeople appear in droves?
- I bet your company has a NO Soliciting sign (or similar) posted many salespeople actually pay attention to it? We've actually had ONE who said "Oh I see your sign, I'll just leave this and go". We've had one guy even say, "But I'm not soliciting" (Oh brother!) (I did look up the actual definition of soliciting and there are a cpl meaning that aren't "selling" related, but the main meaning here in the US is to "approach with a request, or urge (strongly)"
- The ones I hate are the telemarketers that call and ask for the model # on your copier. If you ask them which one a few will try to guess and say "Xerox", "Canon" or "Minolta". Most of the time I just ask what company their with and they'll hang up. But I do know one co-worker who got clotheslined by one of them and they sent a toner cartridge and billed us for it. **Actually, I don't think they ever sent the cartridge because I was in charge of the copiers as well as office supplies and never received a cartridge from another source. But I do remember when A/P came and asked who the heck were these people billing us for a cartridge.
- Then there's the empty promises. When we purchased a new copier, the salesguy promised us 2 free toners. It took us months of fighting through the red tape to get it.

- On a personal experience: We were trying to buy a new car. The salespeople gave us one and said they'd be out to our home with the loan papers to sign. We thought "Cool" right? Ha! When they came with the loan papers, the interest rate was 40%!!
Needless to say we didn't get that car.

- On a good note: With the car we currently own, the salesguy was so sure he'd get us a loan he let us take the car off the lot that day with his dealer plate on it. We actually drove the car for 3 months before they got us a good loan!

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Ah finance

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Solictors or salespeople?

I signed up for a fitted carpet for the hall, stairs and landing at price X, he muttered that the finance boys would sort out the payments.

They turned up and it was X * 3. So I said, seems to have been an omission in the sales pitch there matey. I was paying for a carpet, not a bloody extension.

Unfortunately for them while this wrangle was going on, they came round and fitted it.
I got it for nothing, I felt very guilty about this for about two nanoseconds.

So let this be a warning to the sales types, somthings you do to make a sale can cost you.

Mind you the scam, I mean bargain, they were running they could probably afford one nasty git like me in three and still make a tidy sum.

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But I'll bet when you buy the next new car

by NickNielsen In reply to Solictors or salespeople?

you will give this same dealer a serious look before you go anywhere else.

That's salemanship.

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ask for the model # on your copier

by LocoLobo In reply to Solictors or salespeople?

They do that where I work too. I think of that as a scam rather than sales.

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The worse thing?

by mr.macadam In reply to Annoying Salespeople

I don't have a horror story thank goodness.

The only time I dumped a vendor was when my rep seemed to become numbers oriented after working with him for a year and started quoting me inconsistent prices and offering solutions I didn't need. He stopped taking care of the customer.

Usually, I entertain a solicitation for twenty seconds by telling the salesperson an honest outlay of what we already have and receive an honest "thanks for your time" from the person. They're welcomed to call back when vendor review are underway because it's nice for me to have options. This saves me the stress of trying to get off the phone, too. I lead the call which seems to help both parties. I know you have a job to do. Before, I used to get so stressed with calls from sales folks.

Toner vendors get hung up on. Their tactics feel somewhat abusive, misleading and antagonistic. Their business model does not help me, the customer. It's not a win/win in my book.

All in all, if you have my phone number and e-mail; leave me a message on both avenues. Believe or not, I listen to the voicemail and if it's followed up with an e-mail, it gets put into a vendor contact folder. While you may not get on my vendor list everytime, you're already a pre-qualified list judgemented upon the voice demeanor and single follow up e-mail.

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