Ask yourself, why did you start a business in the first place? Because you thought you had something to offer the world and that you could make money doing it! In these times, there are new technologies and solutions emerging for businesses every day. How are you staying abreast of these things? You could be losing money by turning away a 20 minute meeting. I promise you, if a salesperson is calling you non stop, they believe they can help you. Additionally, they are calling just as persistently on your competitors. What is the best way to be able to handle not shutting yourself out, and staying competitive?
First, follow these steps, then if they qualify take the meeting. Don’t ask for an email with information. Always do business in person. You are not doing business with an email, but that person. Treat this person who has been specially trained to educate you about this product/service with professional courtesy and respect. They know something you don’t and you can learn from them about what is out there to help you, regardless if you buy or not. Be on time and give them your full attention. Don’t squeeze them in with your regular vendors. This is not fair to them and you are in a different brain process when you are meeting with people you already buy from. You are paying them, you may have issues with them and you aren’t in the right frame of mind to be open minded and learn.
I propose you set one or two days a month aside to reserve meetings for new solutions. It does take your time, but this is an investment in your continuing education. I am sure you get a ton of phone calls every day. Instruct your staff to be polite and take contact information, saying that you will in fact get the message. Have your staff or gate keepers post a list of who is calling you, what company they work for and how many times they call. If they have called you more than three times, that is probably someone you can depend on as a good partner. They don’t give up and they are sure they have something to offer you that will benefit you.
This way, you can filter some of the calls and arrange a true business meeting.
Get the salesperson’s cell phone number and text them a time and place you can meet. Also be sure to respect their time and gas as they may be driving a long way, after a long day of appts to meet with you. If you cannot make it, text them with ample notice and offer an alternative time right away, keep your meeting.
As a sales professional, I have driven hours for an appt and gotten stiffed or kept waiting, putting me behind for the next person and its just rude. I will not call on the person again as it is a waste of my valuable time. I make companies hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you want to throw that out the window that is your loss. It doesn’t come out if my pocket, it comes out of yours.
During the meeting, ask questions, tell them your fears and objections. If they overcome them, and they can show you facts and examples… you should probably consider. Is the salesperson truly there for a long term partnership? Are they going to be there when you call them? Ask them why you should buy from them. Then, make your decision after being truly informed. If you are not ready now, set a follow up meeting to meet with them in two months. Because, they could have new solutions and products available. The main purpose of the meeting is for you to know what is available.
The company I own has only been around for about 9 years. We have grown so much with innovation and solutions, that we now have basically everything our customers have asked for in the first few years in business. But sadly owners only remember what they learned at their single, badly timed, closed minded meeting years ago, and they are missing out on what is new that our current customers truly appreciate and enjoy!
And lastly, remember we are all equals as human beings and professionals. Treat other sales people as you would want your company’s sales people treated.