The other day a rep I did not know called me to get some advice about a new product line. He left only his name, no phone number and yet he asked me to call him back! Fortunately, I have caller ID. Maybe he just assumed that everyone has caller ID. But he called my office phone not my mobile so that was not a given.
As I always do, I went to Linkedin to see who he was; I always do that and so should you. The first thing I want to know is if the person is even on Linkedin and then I want to know how many LinkedIn connections the person has. These two facts will give me a pretty good preview as to what kind of salesperson I am dealing with.
Obviously if the person is not even on Linkedin, I have to say he is not much of a salesperson. He is either completely out of touch, or he is ten years behind the times, or he does not much care about prospecting and finding people, or all of the above.
Then I look in their LinkedIn profile for the person’s contact information and to me this really is where I can tell if this is a true salesperson or not. If the person only has Linkedin as a way to contact him, I start losing interest really fast. You’re a salesperson for heaven’s sake! Your job is to be found, to give people an easy way to get in touch with you! Why would you not put your direct contact information there, your phone number, your actual email address? I just don’t get it.
Then sometimes the rep firm’s website will be listed. “That’s good”, I think, “at least I’ll be able to find him on his web site.” I go to the site and then to his contact page and I get the dreaded “info at” or “sales at” email address. Are you kidding me? You’re a sales guy! You want people to find you. You are selling, not buying. Why have a website to begin with if you don’t have a solid and direct way to contact you?
I can almost understand it if you’re a buyer with all kinds of people trying to find you every day. You want to make them work for it right? Frankly, that’s still pretty stupid but that’s a column for another day.
Now I have heard all of the excuses, and most of them dumb.
I don’t want to get all that SPAM. Shut up, you’re going to get it anyway.
I don’t want the site to be hacked. What and steal all of your valuable information?
I don’t want to get hit with ransomware. You’re an independent sales rep, you don’t have anything worth ransoming!
I don’t want them to steal my other sales guys. If they want to steal your sales guys, they will find a way. And if they do then what kind of relationship did you have with that person anyway?
I don’t want to get all of these calls: Really you are in the business of getting calls…suck it up.
Man is this so hard to figure out?
Now okay somehow, I find the rep’s email address. Fantastic…now I’m in business. So, I mail him and guess what I get?
“I will be out of the office from August 5th to returning August 12th and my emails will not be answered, please feel free to get in touch when I get back.”
WHAAAAT? You’re a salesperson! You work for yourself! (I get it if you work for a company, but then you’ll have an alternate person the emailer can contact. But a self-employed sales rep? There is no time off! You own your company. You don’t want to miss any opportunity whether you are shooting the rapids in Colorado, climbing Mt. Everest, traveling through Europe, or just sitting by the kiddie pool at home, never turn off your email.
We’re in the know, and we know that you have a Smartphone and that with that nifty little device you are never out of touch. We know that and we know that you are purposely ignoring us, because you think, you think, you have something better to do. Sorry, you don’t. You chose to be an independent contractor, you chose to work for yourself, and being on call 24/7 is part of the deal. Never let people see you sweat and if you’re self-employed never let them see you rest!
So please! Leave your phone number when you call somebody who does not know you. Put your darn real email and direct phone number on your website. And get rid of that “away from the office” message. You are the office! You are the business! And if you’re really smart you will always be open for business. It’s only common sense.