Candid Letter to Sellers

Dear Seller-( I can't remember your name),

I don't know you from Adam, so I'm only doing this because my buddy Patrick asked me to give you a break. (You never let down the Lads, so it was a good move on your part to ask him to mention you to me). I only have a couple of minutes - three minutes to be exact -, but I believe you're interested in what you can do to capture my attention and entice me to want to meet you.

Let me say this loud and clear to start with - you have no idea what my day is like.
You may think you do, but you're missing the boat. And until you understand this, my advice to you will make no sense.

My Day
I got into the office early this morning so I could have some uninterrupted time to work on a major project - something I can't seem to squeeze into normal working hours, which are filled with back-to-back meetings. But by 9 a.m. all my good intentions were dashed. My boss asked me to drop everything to get him some up-to-date information on a major reorganisation initiative. Product development informed me that our new product won't be available for the tradeshow in two weeks time. Sales is already in a total uproar over it, because they have orders for it. Then HR tells me that one of my key employees has been accused of downloading porn off the internet!

Starting to get the picture? Welcome to my world of everyday chaos where, hard as I try to make progress, I keep slipping behind. Right now, I have at least 59 hours of work piled on my desk, needing my attention. I have no idea when I'll get it all done.

By the way, did I mention my how many emails I get daily? Over 100. Everyone copies me on every stupid thing. It drives me bonkers. Then, add to that at least 30 phone calls - many from sales people who want to set up a meeting with me, and the amount of junk mail I get each day is nothing short of ridiculous.

In short, I have way too much to do, ever-increasing expectations, impossible deadlines, and constant interruptions from people wanting my time or attention. Time is in short supply and I protect it at all costs. I live with the status quo as long as I can - even if I'm not happy. Why? Because change creates more work and eats up my time.

Which gets us back to you. In your well-intentioned but misguided attempts turn me into a "prospect," you fail woefully to capture my attention. I'm going to be really blunt here: I could care less about your product, your service, or your company.

"Trash Talk"

I'm not one bit interested in your "unique methodologies", "extraordinary differentiators", or one-stop shopping. Your self-serving platitiudes, while designed to lure me into your clutches, actually has the exact opposite effect. I don't really think I am "your valued customer"- how Dickensian! -, or that that you thought I'd be interested in your "incredible" new range for any other reason than that you want to flog the damned thing to me!

It's "trash talk"! I quickly scan your emails or letters looking for offensive words and phrases that glorify your offering or your firm, and that only tell me how great you are. The minute I spot them, you're toast. Zapped! And when you talk the same rubbish in your voicemails, I delete you immediately. Delete, delete, delete. ( How many voice messages that you leave for prospects actually cause them to return your calls?... I'd say, so few, that you mostly no longer bother to leave these messages....... I rest my case).

That's the most expeditious way to handle pestilential telemarketers. And use those same words and phrases on the phone with me and I'll instantly start thinking of a way to end the conversation fast. I'm a master at sniffing out your trash talk and deleting it/ ending it. I have work to do and refuse to waste even a second of my time on something that's irrelevant, self-serving, or self-promotional.

A seller with "cop on"

You need to know though that I'm not always like this. Occasionally a seller with a bit of common sense captures my attention, gets me to raise my hand asking for more information, and even motivates me to see him or her. How do they do it? Simple. They completely focus on me and my business and the impact they can have on it. That's what's relevant to me - not their "fantastic" (Oh, not again?), amazing ( ....sure, my eyebrows are disappearing into my hairline), whistles and bells dooflicker. You think it's wonderful, Scout, but then you have a vested interest, haven't you. I've got a business to run.

Talk MY language

I'm always interested in ways to shorten my time to market, speed up our sales cycles and reduce our supply chain costs. Notice that this is business talk, not sales spiel! When you get even more specific and tell me how much impact you can have on my profits or costs, now you're really talking my language. Show me some evidence of it, I'll be happy to meet you in no time flat.

Do you have any good information or fresh insights about the challenges my company is facing? How about how other companies are addressing these issues? If so, I'm interested in that too.

And remember, you can't rope me in with the good stuff first, then slip back into the "trash talk" about how great you are. If you do, you're toast again, as fast as I can get you out of here.

That's the good stuff........ and it stems from a focus on the difference you can make for my job and for my company, instead of how you're different from every one else. When you emphasise those aspects - very personal to me -, I'm listening.

My Attention Span - "Is it relevant?"

I pay attention in about 5-7 second increments, too. I scan everything - emails, direct letters, brochures, and web site pages.

I don't have the time for fluff. If it's relevant info to me, you've got me. Start meandering (i.e. selling) and I hit delete.

The 80-20 rule applies here. Most of you will always start meandering back to the self- serving stuff, because for some crazy reason, you think I'm interested in you. I'M NOT! I'm interested in ME! How often do I have to repeat it for you?

A few of you will stick with how you can help me.

Now, you tell me which ones I'll go back to willingly......?

Get the picture? I hope so, because I'm late for a meeting and while I've been writing this, the phone's been ringing off the hook.

And see what happened when you get me on to something that interests me? I only meant to give you three minutes, and it's taken me twenty to write this.

Hope this helps!

Maitiu - Your Prospective Customer

Keep Making it Better!

Contact Maitiu or Maggie at Great Expectations Coaching::
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