I do not like to make cold sales calls. I do not mind to be selling when a potential customer comes to me and my job is to help him/her find a solution to their needs but I am not very good at contacting someone unexpectedly.
On the flip side of the situation, I usually do not like to be the one being approached by an unsolicited sales effort. Perhaps that is why I dislike being the salesperson in such an encounter – I always suspect that I may be bothering my target.
All of the above being said, I gained a new respect for salesmen during our efforts to secure advertising for the “Appomattox” magazine being published by the Chamber. Mr. Dave Keene of Town Square Publications was the salesman assigned to the project. Upon his arrival, Dave informed me that he was persistent and would continue to follow up on every potential advertiser in the community but that once he received a “no” he would cease contact completely. During the sales contact period, I assisted him when possible and witnessed a variety of challenges to the completion of his efforts.
As I outline some of the situations which we encountered, I would like to add that I do not wish to be disparaging to any business that might feel like it has been referenced below. I fully understand that placing an ad is only one of a hundred things going on within an individual business and an owner or manager is continually being pulled in many different directions.
Thanks to many of the entities that, once receiving the information via email from the Chamber and/or personal contact by Dave, reviewed it and asked questions regarding distribution, comparisons with other publications, etc. in order to make an efficient and final decision.
Some of the organizations immediately promised to review the material and make a decision but never “got around to it”. When a second contact was made, they asked for the information to be provided again as they had apparently misplaced it. In some cases, this was repeated, requiring a third or fourth provision of the marketing information.
Another type of response often encountered was to simply ignore the contact. Repeated calls produced no reaction, leaving the sales rep in a state of limbo. There are even some in this realm that, passing on the street, would avoid eye contact.
Then there are the businesses that give you an immediate verbal commitment but require multiple calls to get a signature on the dotted line. The “call me back tomorrows” can go on for weeks.
In summary, I am not blessed with the tenacity and the patience to be very successful at this type of effort but I have certainly learned to appreciate those that do. And, I will make an effort to be as efficient with both their time and mine in the future.
Finally, a big “thank you” to all who stepped forward, regardless of the difficulties, to make our publication possible. I am looking forward to the final product which will appear in August.