I managed to develop a case of poison ivy that is so bad it is making my blood boil. Earlier this year I wrote an article explaining why more salespeople suck than ever before. (You'll need to read that article for the rest of this article to make any sense.) Last week, a reader provided a comment that made my blood boil and I wrote a response to it. I think you'll get as riled up over his comment as I did and I hope you'll love my response, but first, read that article, return here and read his comment which I have included below, and then continue reading for my reply. You won't be sorry!
I polished up his response a bit. I corrected the typos but left his foul language and general attacks the way he wrote them.
"Allow me to give you some insight as a technology buyer why more sales people suck than ever before: Buyers don't need them. This may apply outside of the tech sector as well. There was a time when product information required someone to convey it. We needed specs, compatibility reassurance, negotiated service delivery along with a quote. Now we just want the damn quote. We can do our own homework comparing competitive products thanks to the majority of product details and specs being on-line. All this horsesh*t is just that... talk. Blah, blah...blah...: 1. Creating value and insight during the client conversation 2. Uncovering complete information regarding the decision making process 3. Exploring client issues and challenges This implies the customer is too stupid to know what they need and the esteemed sales person is there to guide them through the decision making process....whatever. We know what we need - freakin' sell it to us without the corporate phsyco sociology drabble. Believe it or not you don't need to know everything about our operations in Europe to sell me a damn network switch in North Carolina. I don't need to know what kind of bike you kid rides or where you are taking your next vacation. You are not my friend. Prepare the f'ing quote. Now, don't re-architect, re-engineer or include a bunch of unnecessary line items per your "best practices". Stop throwing in twelve kitchen sinks to force me to say no. And I will. And you will take it for an answer. When you don't like no for an answer don't circumvent a department by calling all the way up to the CFO for attention. The answer is still no and you've just lit a match on an already burning bridge. Sales people simply have a harder time now because they are not necessary. The pitch is just that... all pitch. We need ACCOUNT REPRESENTATIVES. We need those who don't exit the stage when the contact ink is dry turning us over to customer "service". Isn't it a wonderful thing that the US is turning to a service sector economy considering how much we suck at it. Sign 'em up for contractual recurring revenue and bleed 'em dry. That should be the front line in the majority of new sales hire meetings. As buyers we know this. Sales people aren't there to provide service. They are not there to point customers to the right party to handle accounting issues. They aren't there for continuing product and customer support, nor should they be. So what purpose do they serve? Hype? Yawn. If American companies would fire or convert their commission "sales" staff for proper customer service and representation it would have a positive effect on the overall economy. The "sell 'em high, sign 'em up wet ink and off shore them to India" model is what buyers are rejecting. Change this. Replace the sales landscape with real customer service."
Here is my response to Todd.
Todd, thanks for taking the time to offer your opinion. I could tell you are very passionate about this subject and you are certainly correct about one thing. When you want to buy a switch you shouldn't have to answer all of those irrelevant questions! That's a transactional sale and salespeople have been obsolete for years when it come to transactional sales. You can buy those online - you don't need a salesperson!
Unfortunately, you have met far too many salespeople from the bottom 77% of the sales population, yet none of the elite 7%. If you had met one of the good ones, you probably would have made that individual an exception to your rant.
You have a job to do - get what you need at the lowest price. But salespeople have a job to do too. And that's to change your mind, get you to consider value over price, influence your decision as to which company to do business with, and develop a long-term win-win relationship with you. But you hate salespeople, which is your right. I hate to break it to you but salespeople hate you too. You make their lives even more miserable than you can imagine. While they don't prevent you from doing your job, you sure make it impossible for them to do theirs.
Whether their companies call them account representatives, customer service representatives or salespeople, it won't change the quality of the rep that is calling on you. 77% of them suck, and the good ones have learned not to call on you! That's because you sound like an uncooperative, close-minded, price-first buyer who is ineffective at developing a value-based relationship with salespeople. And if the good ones aren't calling on you, they are probably calling on your CTO, CIO, or CFO. Good for them!