Don’t give in to desperate sales pitches

Listening to hard-sell sales pitches makes me cringe. In my career, I’ve usually been lucky enough to work on products which customers actually sought out, so it’s been a fairly relaxed atmosphere, with the salespeople more concerned that they were selling the right product at the right time. However, we’re all on the receiving end of desperate sales stuff from time to time, and that’s certainly the case in marketing services. Over the last few years we’ve become used to “please buy my product, the dog’s just died” calls from people selling web directories, search engine optimisation, and most recently services which claim to be able to identify your website visitors*. (They can’t, by the way, not by name).

I probably get a call or an email every week from somebody asking if something they’ve just signed up to is any good. Usually they’re looking for reassurance, because some salesperson has just persuaded them to sign up for a year and they’re worried that they might have done the wrong thing. Sorry, but if a simple service which doesn’t need to immerse itself in your company culture demands a year’s commitment, there’s probably a reason for that: they know you’d leave earlier if they gave you the chance.

What really annoyed me last week was a client getting an email from one of these services claiming a fringe benefit of its marvellous technology would be a guaranteed 20% reduction in AdWords costs. Trust me, I’d be the first to join if that was possible. It looks like they were going to do this by analysing the advertising traffic at a keyword level, as if we (on behalf of our client) didn’t do this anyway. And of course, it was accompanied by one of those offers you get in a car showroom (“Don’t tell the boss, but I can knock off more from the price than I’m supposed to because it’s the end of the sales quarter” or something like that).

Not everyone can quickly and politely say no to an unwanted sales caller. I’m awful at it. But if you’ve got into a conversation with some online marketing service salesperson and are looking for a way out, send me details of what they’re offering and I’ll give you my honest opinion. It’s a fair exchange, because I’m always fascinated to know the sort of thing you’re being offered.

*If it’s Lead Forensics who’ve been bugging you on this front, read this first.

1 thought on “Don’t give in to desperate sales pitches”

  1. Great article Chris (and thanks for the link to our blog on the subject).

    The part that rang the truest were your words “if a simple service which doesn’t need to immerse itself in your company culture demands a year’s commitment, there’s probably a reason for that: they know you’d leave earlier if they gave you the chance.”

    It certainly is a case of businesses wanting to make a sale. It also sometimes incorporates a payment structure (e.g. people paid commission based on a bigger ‘year’ sale). It’s also about trying to lock people in so they don’t go to competitors. It’s worth noting that we get a lot of our customers who have previously been locked into a year contract, realise the mistake, and then come to us. Although we do offer 6 and 12 monthly payment options, they’re exactly that – an option to pay to get a discounted price, and they can be taken at any time (people typically have the free 30 day trial, pay month to month and then want to get the discount once the trust has been built).

    In our view, any business that sells a simple service and expects a long-term commitment, is living in the dark ages, along with the grim sales tactics that they typically use. I don’t know whether you allow it Chris, but if so, your readers may be interested in our blog Although the focus on that blog is to encourage people to trial us and other suppliers within our sector in parallel, it’s something that could apply to many business sectors and so hopefully is useful to some people.


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