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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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Common courtesy

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

For any business to succeed, a sale must be made.
The same cannot be said for IT. In the total scheme of things and as much as we may dislike owning it, IT is not the most important department in the company.

Although I now happen to be in IT, I was in sales for a time. For all of us, whether in IT and/or sales, I hope each person gets treated as well or as poor as one treats others.

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I get a lot of calls

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

The company secretary will ask me if I want to talk to such and such from wherever - and most times I ask if my mail address can be passed on to the caller, as I am very often busy.

Most callers will then email with the details of their sale - some do not and keep pestering our switchboard, or refuse to leave details, which is a strange thing to do.

I must admit that some of these calls have been very productive. Some people have called after I have taken part in an online survey, or have downloaded information packs through emedia rapid request email alerts. Some of these have resulted in great cost savings for my company.


Others - such as reps from course providers, are quite rude to our receptionist when I am 'unavailable' - I even had to write a strong email message to one asking them not to call again. One sales rep rang every day for two weeks and refused to leave any details with the receptionist and would not email me with her details. She was also quite aggressive. When she did ring and I was free, I discovered her sale was completely pointless - and she was taken aback that my company was not interested!

I have found that those sales people who are genuinely interested in providing a better service for your company are often calm, intelligent and polite. They usually respond well to questions (without any umm and err and ahhh etc), do not get flustered, and are not aggressive. However, run of the mill sales people can be spotted immediately by their tone.

I usually respond to emails either in the negative or positive accordingly, and have learnt to be quite firm with those people who are trying to get you to buy something even if you do not need it.

Talking to these folks has resulted in some positive moves for our company, and those definitely outweigh the useless time-wasters.

So I have to say, yes - talk to them, you might get a great deal on a product, or an enhancement to your existing infrastructure.

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I can sympathize

by vorde68 In reply to Do I have to return sales ...

As an IT manager, I too get alot of calls, and probably from the same sources that have sold your name to the solicitors. Personally, I feel since I did not solicit information, I am therefore not obliged to return the phone calls. We all have our vendors we like to work with and have built up a trusting relationship because they deliver the right equipment / software on time and in a courteous manner - these are the people I work with.

Also, as I'm the type of person who doesn't like pushy sales people. If they get through to me, I just tell them point blank on the phone, I'll contact you if I want a competative bid, but for now I have a working relationship with a group of vendors and don't require your services, please take me off your list.

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I will decide when and *if* I would like to contact you

by Lando56 In reply to Do I have to return sales ...

Annoying... isn't it! I download for educational purposes, and when I get a call, almost guaranteed, I just say so. In your position, I'd tell them politely, but without wasting any time, I'll call YOU... if I want to. "Thank you"... <click>

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NO!

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

Absolutely not. This is a pet peeve. We've had sales people call us, and if they manage to get us, we let them tell us what their product is about. In one case, we'd signed a contract, and had already started installing a huge system, when a salesperson called. When we told him we weren't interested, he called administration, threatened a lawsuit for unfair competition, the whole enchilada. We ended up listening to him, letting him buy us lunch, then had great joy in telling him that the contract had been signed, we'd now installed, and since he couldn't do healthcare specific, then we couldn't use him. Thanks for lunch, chief.

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NO One shold be able to get to you.

by Aaron A Baker In reply to Do I have to return sales ...

They should have to go through some form of answering machine or a secretary whereupon it is you who decide's who you want to talk to.
Being a nice guy and wanting to be polite, we try to answer any and all that come our way.
However, you've hit the nail right on the head when you said that "they interfered with you doing your job". You weren't hired to be at the beck and call of theses people you were hired to get a job done. This is your first duty and by definition, must be your first priority.
I would concentrate on that and not worry about these sales people, after all, they don't seem to mind the fact that they are wasting a lot of your valuable time.
I would choose a day when I decide who I want to callback and then let it be known to one and all, don't call, I'll be far too busy.
Organize your time and above all, stop trying to be so nice, we all love nice guys, especially salespeople, they use them shamelessly in their relentless pursuit of sales. Stay nice but don't play the fool, let them know what You want, you're the client aren't you, you pay? Your the Boss.
Nough Said
Good Luck
Regards
Aaron

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Depends, but it is nice to get a response

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

I am the cold-caller. What gets me is that I usually represent companies that you have never heard of who have great products, services, or solutions. When you stop me, you stop the flow of entreprenurial spirit and yes, you are probably losing out on something that could really help your business. I happen to have strong knowledge of technology and more importantly the business landscape and can probably tell you a few things about how to improve processes. Not all salespeople are "clueless" or "uneducated", although that is true in some cases. When you do not return my call or email which I have taken a great deal of time to think about and craft, you waste my time equally. If you are so busy doing things, then I also assume you are not strategic and not someone enabled to make a decision anyway. Those who present ideas or solutions to help the business usually are promoted to higher levels, we - the pesty salespeople - can help you. View us as the enemy, we are, view us as a resource - you too can be a CIO.

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