Soapbox: A resolution for better sales

Introducing our new monthly rant or rave column brought to you by the IT Pro Leader Board. Honesty guaranteed...

As we near closer to 2013, I'd like to suggest a New Year resolution for anyone involved in sales.

Please learn about what you are selling and to whom you are selling. Don't just bandy about the buzzwords or the technical specifications because I can read that from your website; learn what that particular service, software or device can offer from a business perspective. If your new Yomashunti (made-up brand) ERP system can save my company 50 per cent - show me.

I'm not some new breed of IT Puritan... However, offering me a cloud-based photocopier with the sweetener of tickets to see East 17 is insulting - definitely musically - and suggests that you consider me to be someone who is easily bought.

I know that case studies are reasonably compelling, but if they're from an industry which is in no way related to the one in which I work, then please think again before offering that type of reference. If you tried to sell me a device to shorten my commute by telling me that it works wonderfully in Sweden and the replacement skis are "actually quite inexpensive" then it doesn't matter who else has bought it - I'm not going to buy it because it's not applicable to my circumstances.

Whilst I'm on the subject - how about offering a bit of a courtesy by visiting my company's website and trying to get an understanding of what we do? I've had countless sales calls with an embarrassed, "So, what does your company do?" thrown in for good measure. I must admit, I now respond with "Exactly what it says on our website..." People who head the IT function within any company haven't the time to help external sales people build a sales pitch into their own organisation. I appreciate that the "new guy or gal" needs to start somewhere with their first cold call, but a reasonable amount of training might help to make the sale... Or at least ease the creation of a buyer/seller business relationship for mutual future gain.

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