Sell Unto Others: The Hypocrisy of Sales Professionals
While walking into a local insurance agent's office recently, I noticed a big sign on the door:
Absolutely No Soliciting.
I laughed at the irony (as that part of his sales practice is to walk into businesses and try to sling policies unannounced) and remembered back to another interaction we had together in the past when I was working with him regarding sales calls.
His philosophy was "100 cold calls a day" and although I never did the full 100 (because it is an abusive practice that adds zero value in the eyes of the customer), I did a fair amount each day, peddling policies to people who weren't interested or leaving voicemail. He preached the "value" of calling people nonstop and how effective it was for business (it wasn't). However, I manned the phone like I was told and pushed through.
Then the phone rang.
One of our account managers from a lead company was calling to talk to the agent. I put the salesman on hold and walked over to the agent's office.
"Joe Soandso from the internet lead provider is on the phone for you..." I said.
"Ugh...no... I'm not taking his call. I hate sales people calling me. Just hang up on him." the agent responded.
I was taken aback. Shocked even. No words could escape my mouth.
The same agent who championed the value of cold calling and pushed "100 calls a day" just told me that he finds no value in cold calls? What makes him so special over other consumers? Isn't this guy doing the same job I am...therefore you are admitting that what I do is an annoyance and has no value?
Needless to say, I didn't hang up on the guy. I gave him the truth and he laughed. After thanking me for my honesty, he said he'd call back another time.
The agent's response made me see how many people in the profession of sales believe the BS of cold calling effectiveness and champion it with their sales buddies, while going through great lengths in avoiding anything cold call sales related that may benefit them.
Every insurance agent wants to quote and pitch you, but too many of them want to leave the relationship one-sided. Even then, if you are quoted and you aren't interested at the time.. they just walk away. Many won't even simply follow up with you just to maintain a relationship.
Relationships aren't based on monologue, but dialogue. If you are wanting to have people listen to your amazing new term life product and become your customer, you have to provide the same consideration in return. Sales isn't a numbers business... it is all about relationships and you can't have a relationship if you are fueled by 100% self -interest.
If you want to sell more, buy more. If you want people to listen to you, listen more. If you want people find value in you, find value in them. Cognitive dissonance and self-interest will only get you so far in this new day and age.