When I answered the phone the other day, the person on the other end was calling from a company I buy from. The conversation went something like this:
Telemarketer: “Dr. Eaton we have a very special offer for you!”
Telemarketer: (Insert scripted sales pitch here.)
Me: “That sounds pretty interesting. Can you send me some information in the mail?”
Telemarketer: “No, I’m sorry, we don’t send information in the mail. It will only take a few minutes to sign you up over the phone.”
In that precise moment, the sale was lost.
Me: “I prefer to take the time to read over the material first. I don’t sign up for things over the phone. Can you send me information that I can thoughtfully look over and consider in more detail, rather than having to make a snap decision right now?”
(I knew the answer, but I just wanted to clarify.)
Telemarketer: “Really, it will only take a moment to sign you up over the phone, and I can tell you everything about the offer.”
The point? Missed.
The call? Ended.
The sale? Lost.
The upshot? I was a sale, ready and waiting to happen, and they lost it. I am already a customer. I was interested in the offer. I was very close to saying yes, but didn’t appreciate the “hard sales” pressure tactic, so I declined.
Realize what works with your target audience and what doesn’t. What a sales or marketing company may tell you will work, may not. Find out for yourself. Avoid tactics that are likely to lose you sales because you’ve ticked off your prospective buyer, client or student.
The moral of the story? Market to your clients, not at them.
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Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.