OK, I am NOT a great salesman. Like most things, I know what I am supposed to do to be a good salesperson, I just generally fail on the execution. I get nervous, forget things and just generally do a not-so-great job. And by sales I am talking outside sales, the cold calling and prospecting that we need to do to survive. Now if you were to come into my store and ask me about a product or service, I kick ass! There is just something about going out that throws me out of whack.
On slow days here we like to do what we call soft prospecting. We go to an area, preferably with lots of offices or close buildings, and just drop off some notepads, pens and a card. We don’t ask to see anyone that day, just to get a name or a business card so we can send them more information later. Occasionally it results in someone wanting to talk to us right then, but we don’t push it. Every business it seems has a ‘no soliciting’ sign outside and this is our way around that. We’re just dropping off goodies, getting a name or a business card and then leaving. It works for me, as I don’t experience all the jitters and nervousness that I would otherwise face, and on the occasion that they ask to talk with me I can do so with ease. And on days like yesterday it is nice to just get out of the office for a bit.
So here I am walking thru a small office complex dropping off pads and pens. For the most part people have been friendly and happily took the offered pad and pen. I got business cards or names from every place I went to and then left to go on the the next place. One of the first places I went to was asking me all sorts of pricing questions while I was there and there is only so much I can spout off the top of my head so I had to have them call the office and let them handle it from there while I moved on. About an hour later I was just wrapping it up for the day when I had 2 visits in a row that just had me shaking my head. The first of them started as usual. I walked in and said”Hi! I’m from X and I’m just dropping off pads and pens for everyone. All I need is a business card to take back to prove I was here and so we can mail you more information later.” She looks at me for a moment and then starts asking me all sorts of questions about our products. She grabs an envelope and asks if we could print that? I say sure and I can get her a price once I get back to the store. She then grabs a carbonless form and we go thru that process again. As we are talking a guy steps out of an office behind her, looks at me and then goes ape-shit. He points at me like Matthew Bennell (Donald Sutherland) from Invasion of the Body Snatchers and starts walking briskly towards me all while yelling “What the hell are you doing here? Can’t you see the no soliciting sign? Get out now!” The lady and I just look at each other for a moment wondering where THIS came from when he repeats himself and emphasizes his pointing to the degree I think he might pull a muscle. So I just thank the lady for her time and walk out. Such anger on a beautiful day!
So literally the next stop, which was to be my last, was just as bad. I walked in and the lady at the front had a look on her face like she had to take a shit and couldn’t. I was pretty intimidated before I finished getting thru the door. I decided I was just going to leave the pad and pen and not even ask for a card. So I said “Hi, I am just dropping off pads and pens for everyone in the plaza here” and I approached the desk to place them on the counter. As I am doing that, she said “We don’t want any.” I had finished placing them on the counter and said “I’m not trying to sell you anything, just leaving these for you or someone else to have. Have a great day.” and I turned around to leave. Before I could manage that she had snatched up the pad and pen and literally shoved them into my chest again saying “We don’t want any”, only this time a bit louder. So I take them back and just say “OK, Sorry to have bothered you.” As I am just walking out the door she yells “Next time read the damn sign!”. WFT is wrong with people? Would they like it if THEIR salespeople were treated that way? Hope that woman was finally able to shit or she may explode.