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3 Reasons You Should Accept Sales Calls
You are a senior level IT leader in a top enterprise, non-profit or Small to Midsize Business. You’ve got budgets to plan, policies to write, a team to coach, executives to brief, presentations to give, research to do, fires to fight and likely, a family to raise. Oh yeah, and a job to do on top of that- with KPI’s, mid-year reviews and all the other measurements in place to ensure you do it. Now throw in literally thousands of sales people from thousands of vendors who are all vying for your attention. They are hounding your email box and leaving you long-winded messages. They all have something to sell you that will save you time, money or help you mitigate risk. And, they all want a space on your calendar.
It’s easy to see why you don’t pick up the phone or return the calls. It’s simply too overwhelming.”
However, I’d like to suggest some reasons why you should set aside 30-60 minutes a week to take a new sales call, lunch meeting or coffee invitation.
Now, just to be clear, I am not advocating that you accept EVERY sales call request. I am advocating blocking off time on your calendar to entertain a call with the select few consultative sales people who can break through the throngs of requests with a creative, interesting or unique message.
And Here’s Why:
1. Practice and refine your story.
A good sales person will ask you about your story. This is a great opportunity to practice telling the story about your accomplishments, your priorities and your expertise. With soft skills being some of the most important skills in advancing your career today (see latest IT Soft Skills Report From Wisegate), getting this free practice is invaluable. However, if they don’t ask you about you, feel free to politely cut them short and take back your time to reply to emails, fight fires or catch up on the latest Wisegate report.
2. Learn something new
Talking with sales people can also be enlightening. Imagine that?!? Professional sales people speak with hundreds of your peers and do a tremendous amount of background research before they meet with you, and most of the time they do actually have a lot of interesting information on industry trends and new ideas. Now, of course, you have to take in the information with an understanding of potential vendor bias, but you can still glean some interesting facts from your call. Be sure to ask about recent client win stories and then you can validate through your network if they are relevant.
3. Expand your professional network
A good consultative sales executive has an extensive network and likely has relationships with current clients and prospects that are not in your current network. They network for a living and spend a tremendous amount of time building relationships. You never know when you will need to tap into a greater network. Whether it’s an unexpected challenge that pops up in your current role or a planned career move, your peers are the best place to start when searching for the answers you need.
Bonus- Free Therapy!
Great sales people are also great listeners. And they are talking to your peers. They can give you an outlet to discuss your challenges and headaches and help give insight on what they are hearing from their peers. It truly can be therapy for you to talk to someone who understands your role, challenges and what you do without having to pay $150 an hour for a therapist.
Now, I understand that not every sales person is a great listener, enjoyable to talk with or bringing something new to the table. And yes, some actually read from scripts! Seriously. It is sad. However, you can tell a lot about a sales person before you accept the call by reviewing their profile with past history and recommendation on LinkedIn, Googling them and reviewing their company’s website in about 5 minutes before you say yes and accept the meeting invitation.
If all signs point to a worthwhile conversation, then click accept. And be there to answer your phone when we call.
PS- If you are actively looking for a new opportunity, also check out these 5 Tips for Your Next IT Career Move to find the right opportunity for you!