I have heard often that sales people are the easiest people to sell to. I never thought I fell into this camp until a recent experience reminded me how important the buyer's journey is. In this case, I was the eager buyer. And by the end of my journey, I was reminded of a profane yet still memorable axiom taught to me by one of my best mentors on how a seller should treat a buyer:
“Show Up, Don’t be a D*ck and Add Value”.
I had been following this company for a year when they were pre-product stage because I thought to myself, wow, they really have a great idea to make sales more efficient. They finally had what looked to be a great minimum viable product and I had a need that they solved! So I reached out to them via their “Request a Demo” page and it only took them about 35 hours to get back to me. SHOW UP strike ONE - you can not win a deal if your NOT in the deal. During that 35 hours I started to research some other companies that were building similar offerings.
When I finally got the email from them about scheduling the demo, they sent me a link to find a time on their calendar. While I love the new scheduling tools because it limits the back and forth through email trying to find a time, if you are using this type of technology and it takes you 35 hours to respond, automate it.
So the demo was scheduled and I was more excited than Steve Ballmer in this video.
I show up for the demo a few minutes early and wait. WAIT for 20 minutes and no one actually “SHOW’S UP” - strike TWO.
For any new or established company, new customers are the lifeblood of the organization. Do not waste an at-bat when you have the chance.
"Don’t Be a Di*k"
The next day I get an email from the sales rep asking me if I still wanted to see a demo acting as if we didn’t have a previously scheduled demo. My response was “yes, but I was also on the uber-conference yesterday and want to make sure someone will be there.” This was the response I got, "Sorry to hear that. I was on the conference line and didn't see anyone join. I'm not sure what happened. I see you booked time for tomorrow. Looking forward to chatting then!”
Talk about getting off on the wrong foot, fall on your sword if one of your processes is broken but don't lie to my face. Even if there were a technical issue be respectful of my time and at least try to make me feel good. This is also where some serious doubt came in my mind. If they were treating me like this pre-sale, what happens when I really need them? There is plenty of competition out there, treating your prospects disrespectfully will send them into your competitors arms. Strike THREE - but did I mention I was an easy-to-sell-to-rep - so I re-scheduled the presentation.
The saving grace - the demo, as expected, exceeded expectations and I was super impressed with their technology. Value-add all the way. The company had thrown a Hail Mary pass to a wide open receiver when I state, “we can bypass a canned trial. Can you just send me the details on how to sign up?” The reps response, “Of course and really want to continue to hear your feedback…” Then, crickets for over two weeks.
More often than not, you have just three strikes so you must always be pro-active, respectful and knowledgeable about how your product creates value to gain a new customer. Not following up with me for two weeks was strike FOUR (and finishing the mixed metaphor - the Hail Mary was dropped). I eventually signed up with one of their competitors, Which led me to this post to remind every hot start-up or seasoned organization that getting a new customer is a journey and to “Show Up, Don’t be a Di*k and Add Value”. Cause we all have options out there in world.
P.S. - Hubspot Sales is Amazing! Thanks <un-named> for pushing me to them.