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He had a prissy British accent and an attitude that matched the tone .... "You don't know the half of it and you're already missing this opportunity," it said. Then he launched into an unwanted pitch on how all *he* wanted was to have a conversation. Yet he was the only one speaking.

Still pushing the message through, he proceeded to throw around titles of supposedly very important people I had not gotten my company in front of. When I tried to wedge in an objection that now was not the right time for me to talk, he insisted on making an appointment for 10 minutes of my time .... he had already taken 15.
During that time he managed to:
1. Run offense and defense at the same time -- I was really not that good if I did not take this fabulous offer immediately. When I asked for an email the answer was "I was afraid you were going to say that, all I need is really 10 minutes of your time to have a conversation."
2. Insult me .... did I know who he was talking about? I mean, the key decision makers in blah, blah industry. When I mentioned that I do indeed know the VPs of public affairs and communications in those companies he quickly changed topic. Wanna play who's more connected?
3. Scoff at me .... why would we include your company in this initiative anyway? What have you guys got that is so special? You called me, remember? I thought. My attempt to use brevity in a description opened an unwelcome rush of questions as if now we were to pass an admission test.
All without once, not even for a minute, listening to and internalizing what I was saying. I ended the call with the request for more information to share with my team. Information I have not received. Sadly, this was his version of lead generation .... pushy, unkind, and one-way. A conversation it most certainly was not.
Now, I have no problem with sales professionals. I think they are very special people .... it takes patience, resiliency and ability to adapt to be in sales. Today, it also takes a generous reserve of emotional intelligence. If this is your sales team, pull them off the phones and teach them some manners.
In addition, as a respected marketer, I am sure you will share some tips on how to approach a true conversation .... I will let you fill those in the comments. A tip to the fellow with the British accent: no matter what you do, don't antagonize the person you call, they may end up not buying from you and telling all their colleagues. You would be amazed of how small the B2B world is on certain issues.
Ever had an experience like this? Did you end up using the pitched product or service?

Continue reading "Meet the World's Worst Seller (Is it You?)" ... Read the full article

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Valeria Maltoni helps businesses understand how customers and communities have changed marketing, public relations, and communications - and how to build value in this new environment. As a communicator she specializes in marketing communications, customer dialogue, and brand management. Valeria has come to define modern business as a long and open conversation. Conversation Agent is recognized among the world's top online marketing blogs. Valeria is a Fast Company expert blogger and a contributor to The Blog Herald. She is a co-author of , a groundbreaking ebook collaboration by 103 of today's top marketing writers. Valeria is a frequent public speaker on brand marketing, customer service, and building successful business teams. She publishes in both English and Italian. Educated at the University of Bologna and Villanova University, Valeria combines New World sensibilities with Italian style. She's an active member of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), the American Marketing Association (AMA), the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia (WACA), and the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).