The time had arrived, and I did what so many do today that are participating in a sales call. I logged onto Zoom. By now we know the drill, click on the link, launch the application, connect with computer audio, and start the video. This call was a little unusual for me as I am usually the seller, not so here, I would be the intended buyer for a service that I was soon to need. As per usual, I was prompt and then began my wait for the seller to join. Five minutes passed, then seven, then nine, without my seller showing up for the call. At about the 7-minute mark, I sent them an email to let them know that I was on the call. I followed that with a text to their cell phone to let them know the same. That's when it began to go sideways.
Fairly quickly the seller texts me back. I expected to get at the very least some regret as to why they were late and maybe even an apology for their tardiness. Perhaps they had an emergency that needed tending to or maybe they forgot about the call. Either way, things happen, people are human, it's how you handle situations that count. Instead, that is when the excuses started to flow. First, the seller indicated that he was in the process of downloading the Zoom application. This was puzzling to me, as it was their invite to the meeting in the first place. Then they asked me to call their cell phone to start the conversation. That is when I decided that this salesperson was done. It was clear to me they had forgotten about the call and they were not in a place they wanted me to see. I let them know that Sales 101 was to be punctual and that now changing the method of communication was less than my preference. Instead of apologizing, this salesperson kept indicating to me that all he needed were my details to give me a quote. My response, "No Thank you." They kept texting me with excuses, my only hope at that point was that they were not driving adding danger to this mounting disaster.
In many cases today the selling process has changed where more and more sales are being conducted in a virtual environment. Zoom, Google Meets, Teams, etc. are now the new normal for many and an efficient way to conduct business. However, although the medium has changed the sales etiquette should not. Some of the most important tools a salesperson possesses are intangible assets. Is your awareness quotient high? Are you punctual, presentable, and professional in a Zoom environment much the same as you would have been when calling in person?
For sure the pandemic has also spawned other issues with working in a virtual setting. Children, normally in school may now be attending school from home and sharing space with a parent or guardian. That can be difficult, but it is not an entirely new concept to older generations, who worked virtual for many years and may have had a sick child at home from time to time. Granted it was easier to manage back then with the mute button as there was no video with most conference calls. But this does beg to ask the question, "When did it become acceptable for Children to make appearances on Zoom Calls that are business-related? I know some families have challenges in this space and that it is an issue, it's cute for a little bit but it is just not very professional. I know some will brand me as out of touch with today's reality. I get that, but ask yourself this? How do you think this guy felt at the time this was happening?
As salespeople, we need to make sure to avoid torpedoing our own sales processes. Adapting to our buyer's environment is paramount. Pressing your agenda speaks volumes about what you think of your buyer. Don't succumb to the casualness that working remotely can breed and the bad habits that can be detrimental to success. Although Professor Robert Kelly, in the video clip above, is not a salesperson, we can learn a lot from him. After the clip went viral, he embraced it by appearing with his family, apologizing, and using it to his advantage. Well done Professor Kelly, I have a salesperson I may need you to call for me.
Roger McNamara Bio:
Roger is a 25+-year veteran of the Payments Industry, most recently as the Director of Business Development with American Express in the US. He has worked on the largest Acquisition targets for acceptance across multiple industries and across the globe that include: Airlines, Communications, Technology, Cruise Lines, Entertainment, Fractional Jet, Freight, Government, Healthcare, Insurance, Oil & Gas, Residential Rent, Restaurants, QSR's, Retail, Services, Supermarkets, Travel, Vehicle Sales, B2B and Wholesale. Over that time, he has sold more than $200 Billion worth of Card processing and became an expert in Bankcard Interchange and Discount Rates, how they are calculated and what merchants pay to accept Credit, and how this is dramatically different from what they believe they pay. He is an expert in Merchant Statement analysis and payment processing and the rules and regulations associated with payments and the associations. Roger has also developed insight for Merchant Services Salesforces and salesforces, in general, to be able to better position their products and gain share, particularly in B2B. Let him show you how you can too. He can be reached at Guide2Interchange@gmail.com