Three salespeople left voice-mail messages for me today. They were all cold calls, they were all bad, and they were all following up on brochures they dropped off last week. Nothing out of the ordinary here, as one of the callers wanted to know when our copier leases expire, one wanted to know when our commercial real estate lease expires and two wanted to introduce themselves as our new reps.
There are several reasons why they were so bad:
- They sounded bad on the phone - not like someone with whom you would choose to speak;
- They were reading scripts - the first tip-off that you wouldn't want to speak with them;
- They talked about what they wanted for outcomes from their calls instead of about what I might have been interested.
I have always had a problem with the concept of dialing for expiration dates (think commercial insurance, commercial real estate and copiers) and following up behind brochure drops (think office supplies, hotels and copiers). Distributing literature is not selling!
I also received 4 InMails through LinkedIn. I responded to all of the InMails, but ignored the voice-mails.
The voice-mails were easy to ignore - they were bad and the salespeople told me just enough to know that I didn't want to call them back. The InMails were about me, I didn't get a chance to hear how bad they were and I was interested in what they had to say.
Salespeople should not use LinkedIn InMails to replace phone calls, as much as they shouldn't be ignoring the power of that social media tool either. Sending well-written InMails to carefully-targeted prospects might help salespeople stand out and have a better chance of getting a response and/or meeting. These days I get so few cold calls that anyone who is even borderline effective will stand out in good way. In the end, these salespeople - both the callers and the writers - are being proactive, so at least they're actually doing something to drive new business!