Possibly the worst sales call in the world.

I received a sales call this morning. Names have been changed (mostly because I can’t remember the real ones). It was a lesson in how not to make a cold call, and it went something like this:

Caller: Hello, my name’s Shelley-Ann and I work for SCZK-B Limited. Have you heard of us?

Me: No, I’m afraid I haven’t.

Shelley-Anne: Oh. Well, never mind. My boss, Mr Fotheringham-Smythe, has asked me to contact you as he’s put time aside for a meeting with you. When would be convenient?

Me (still being reasonably polite at this stage, in case it was a new business call): What’s the meeting about, please?

Shelley-Anne: Well, he’d like to work with you. He’s identified companies to work with and your company [I swear I could hear paper shuffling at this point], um, Carrot Communications, is one of them. He’s an accountant. I know you might have an accountant, and I’m respectful of that.

Me:  I do have an accountancy firm and I’m very happy with them. We’ve worked together since 1996.

Shelley-Anne: Oh. Well as I say, I’m respectful of that. But Mr Fotheringham-Smythe has put aside time for this meeting. Have you considered changing your accountant?

Me: No.

Shelley-Anne: Have you reviewed your accountant recently?

Me: Yes. And I’m still very happy with them.

Shelley-Anne: Perhaps you could work with SCZK-B Limited as well as your accountant?

Me: I don’t think so, really.

Shelley-Anne: Could I call you in a year or two to see if the situation’s changed? You know, with this economy and everything, you never know what’s going to happen.

Me: I’m going to be honest, and say no. But thank you for calling.

I felt a bit sorry for Shelley-Anne. It wasn’t her fault – she’d been given a dud script, and I’m guessing she was getting a bonus based on the number of meetings or follow up calls she set up. But it was a good reminder of why you really need to know who’s making your new business calls, and how they’re doing it. And your media calls, come to think of it.

Mr Fotheringham-Smythe might be the best accountant in the world, but I doubt he’s going to make a sale today.

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July in reputation #fail: Thou shalt not insult thy customer
August: four sexist brand #fails

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