Don’t Mince Words

The client: An Avaya partner
The prospect: a mid-sized accounting firm with 80 employees

I got my target on the first try, a pleasant occurrence. As I started my pitch, he brusquely cut me off, saying “What’s this about?” I quickly recovered and said, “I understand that your firm may be considering a move, we are an Avaya partner and I wanted to see if you might be considering upgrading or purchasing a new phone system.” Then I clammed up.

There were a few seconds of uncomfortable silence and then he said, “I’m gonna tell you something Steve, I get at least 6 of these calls a day and I don’t talk to any of them, but I’m going to talk to you.” Surprised, I replied, “I’m always looking for ways to improve my approach, please tell me what it was that separated me from the pack”. His response was instructive: “Most salespeople call me up and ask a million questions. They want to know, ‘what kind of system do you have? How old is it? What features does it have? Are you happy with it?’ And on and on and on. I’m a busy guy and I don’t have time to play 20 questions. I asked you why you were calling—a simple question—and you told me. I really appreciated that”.
He went on to tell me that they were, in fact, going to be moving, asked me to send him an email and follow up in 4-6 weeks, which I did. The next time I spoke with him, I scheduled a meeting.

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