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How do you like to be contacted?

By PokerJohn ·
IT Professionals are bombarded with sales calls. But some of us
make our living selling to IT Professionals.

If I reach a voice mail, 99.9% I know it will not be returned. I
want to be as effective as possible, so I ask people how they like
to be contacted. Most IT Professionals say they are more likely
to answer email rather than returning a voice mail.

So, I've started doing most of my prospecting via email. And,
sure enough, it's been more successful.

Part of the challenge is to make sure my email is not confused
with a mass spam mailing. I try to individualize the emails, and
this helps.

Still a large percent is not answered. I'm very diligent, so I
followup up from time to time unless and until I get an answer
that causes me to advance their file in the future, based on what
they've told me.

My question is how is the best way to contact IT Professionals
and get the appointment. Now you could tell me that if I don't
hear back after a try or two that means they are not interested.
But that's not always the case. The last three sales I've made
were on the 7, 7 and 8th contact before they granted me an
appointment.

I want to be as considerate as I can, and still do my job and be
successful. Any comments or suggestions?

Thanks,
John

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Email, most definately

by jdmercha In reply to How do you like to be con ...

Phone calls interrupt me. Voicemail, is sequential. I have to listen to them in the order they came in. So I listen once and delete them. I'll forgat all about your voicemail. Email I can attend to when I have the time. They are easily saved and I can look at whatever one I want.

#1 email feature - each email should contain a method to be removed from the list.

#2 product information - I may not respond, but I like to educated on product offerings. Especially new technologies.

#3 No generic email address - Email address should match your name. Any emails from Joe Schmo <carl.freely@aol.com> get trashed. Email dmain should relect company name. Don't send from AOL, MSN, Yahoo email accounts.

#4 Frequency - Once a month is fine.

#5 realize who makes what decisions - I may decide what to buy, but purchasing decides who to buy it from.

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Cold Calling Sessions

by Zazelle In reply to Email, most definately

I use a system of taking cold calls one morning a week between 8 and 10:30.

This is scheduled into my diary and my voicemail informs callers of this session. Any callers who manage to get through outside these hours will be requested to get back to me then which causes me minimal interuption.

This does work for me and it's suprising how quickly suppliers catch on.

It also gives me the piece of mind that I still keep up to date with what is happening in the market.

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hmmm.

by Jaqui In reply to Email, most definately

I would add hotmail to the list of ignored domains.

and add, plain text formatting only.
digitally signed, with company owned key

no fancy presentation in the email, links to the fancy stuff ( images )on the company site.

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Me too

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Email, most definately

Put my name in the subject too. My first rule, when checking my email if I wasn't expecting one from you and it looks like spam, it is. I do not check. If I get fooled, I'll get annoyed with the sender, not myself. If I do agree to open a dialog about X, do not tell me about Y and Z without setting up a new dialog for each.

I'm very wary about this sort of thing. I've even had people impersonating recruitment sites. Only one job on it (unfortunately filled), but lots of products, that I could buy if I had one.

Don't ring me up to see if I read it.

A short survey to see what I'm interested in is OK, thirty pages. Trashed. Small graphics are ok but I want to see what the email is about without wearing out the wheel on my mouse.

The domain is a key thing as well. As are reply and contact links, a url that works is good, one that doesn't, trash time again.

I actually would n't object to a phone call, but it should be quick and to the point, and if I say I might have a look at something next month, don't ring me up next week, to see if I've changed my mind. If I do I'll ring you.

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You have six possible ways...

by amcol In reply to How do you like to be con ...

...of contacting me (in no particular order): phone call; e-mail; in person cold call; snail mail; personal introduction from a mutual acquaintance; chance meeting at an industry conference or similar type of gathering.

Your odds of getting a response: phone call 0%; e-mail 10%; in person cold call 0%; snail mail 0%; personal introduction 90%+; industry conference 25%.

I won't take the time to explain why these percentages in this post, but if you're interested post back and I'll do so.

Let's assume the possibility of your finding someone who can make a personal introduction specifically to me is remote. Let's also assume you're unwilling to wait for a chance encounter at a conference. That leaves e-mail as your only viable option.

What gets my attention:

1. A compelling message stated succinctly. What are you selling and why will it make my life better? Don't make me hunt for the answer. If I can't figure this out within the first two sentences, you're done.

2. Respect my intelligence. Don't tell me your product or service is 90% less expensive but 100% more effective than anything else on the market. Tell me something that makes sense.

3. Do your homework. If you have my e-mail address then you know something about me, like what organization I work for. What does my organization do? Would your product provide my organization value? If so, what specifically? If not, why are you wasting your time and mine trying to sell it to me?

If you don't get a response from me and follow up with a phone call, in the unlikely event you get me on the phone don't ask me if I remember your e-mail and especially do NOT get indignant when I say "no". Tell me you sent the e-mail and assume I forgot about it the nanosecond after I read it, which is without a doubt what happened. Sum it up in 30 seconds...give me the elevator speech and no more.

If, on the other hand, you get no response to your initial e-mail there's no harm done in sending a follow-up. And another. And another. It's not like the US Internet Service is charging you electronic postage, and my e-mailbox is already so cluttered you're not doing me any damage. It's up to you how many times you want to do that before you give up. In the meantime all you're costing me is the time it takes to hit the "delete" key.

A side note...while I appreciate your desire to be considerate it's misplaced in a sales situation. It's not about manners and etiquette, it's about getting the appointment and then the sale. This is business...it doesn't matter if we like each other or detest each other, it only matters that we respect each other so we can do effective business together, in a business-like fashion.

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As the old saying goes

by dafe2 In reply to How do you like to be con ...

Don't call me, don't E-mail me, well don't call me I'll call you.

There are only two ways I'll do business - One is by referal, the other is industry events (or) lunch & learn events.

Cheap sales technics don't go far with me.

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to be honest - I DON'T

by secure_lockdown In reply to How do you like to be con ...

i am fully capable of using the internet to search out and solve technical and network infrastruction problems.

you can bet your last dollar that i am fully capable of sourcing out a potential vendor of a product that i need to purchase for my company. i don't need a sales gimp contacting me every couple of months. if i don't need your product now - i sure as **** won't need it in 3 months. and you can bet that if i do decide to buy your product - it's not gonna be a decision soley based on the how persistent a sales gimp is.

you want to better sell your product to tech guys like me? i will tell you how. LEARN WHAT YOU ARE SELLING!

i don't mean memorize the selling points that some marketiod listed for you to recite. talk to your engineers. talk to your programmer. look at the technology and what it does. you need to understand what your product does and how it works and more importantly - how it fits into my IT infrastructure. you don't know how many times i ask a valid tech question and sales gimp keeps harping on the "selling point" and then when he figures out that I won't buy - the classic, "do you know of anyone else that you work with that i can call?"

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Contradiction

by awfernald In reply to to be honest - I DON'T

I thought you were out on the other thread wanting to know which way to go, Windows or Novell?

Kinda hypocritical to say that you can "search out and solve..." in this thread, then be out asking for why/why nots in the other thread.

Sounds to me like you need to be listening to vendors and what they have to sell/offer, and start learning how to read between the fine lines so that you can see how "honest" the vendor is being.

Your other thread was not a bad thread (but it was a repeat), but then to come to this thread and start bragging about how 'capable' you are in vendor selection, when the guy was simply trying to get an answer to how people prefer to be contacted, makes me wonder if you "has de problem vith ze inglis".

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you got the wrong guy

by secure_lockdown In reply to Contradiction

must have been someone else. i am fully familiar with both microsoft and novell products and what they can do.

but i was on that thread trying to undermine blind novell/linux/open source advocacy against microsoft. i think it's stupid!

microsoft product some very good products. but no - NOT all microsoft products are good.

in addition, i have also seen my fair share of some pretty crappy & pathetic open source stuff out there. god help you if you get the guy that designed one of those to be your local inhouse "linux/opensource guru" - that you will rely on to make sure your linux/opensource investment lives up to it's name.

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Thanks

by PokerJohn In reply to How do you like to be con ...

These were great responses! Just what I wanted. I'm attending
our national sales meeting next week and I'm going to bring up
this topic.

I don't want to waste time on things that just aren't going to
work. Sales people usually don't like the prospecting part of
their job, but if it's more effective, then it's not so painful.

I'd love more comments today for my meeting if anybody else
cares to post.

thanks,
John

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