Who shot the customer?

It’s that time of year when businesses want to sell . . . by direct mail, by phone, email and online. I’m hearing from businesses I haven’t heard from since the previous January and some I’ve never heard from before.

Some of them are eager to sell, some are very keen and some sound desperate.

So many sales and marketing messages . . . on twitter, in unsolicited emails and phone calls . . . tell me I need to redesign my web site. Why? No one asks how much business our web sites generate? Some even ask if we have a web site – fail for research, chaps.

Now I don’t mind people contacting us if they’re reasonable and prepared to have a reasonable chat, but the caller who wanted to tell me how he could help us develop our business just would not answer my repeated question: “What is the point of your call?” So I ended it politely.

From pressing the top 10 reasons why I need to do one thing to telling me why doing something else will make me so much money, these people don’t realise that beating up your potential customer is not a good start.

We all need to buy products and services and sometimes we need to change suppliers or improve what we’re already doing, but frightening us to death with horror stories doesn’t build a relationship . . . especially when we can see straight through the sales patter: a dead customer can’t pay an invoice.

Please can all sales people and marketers realise that, while usually I don’t mind someone identifying my genuine needs and offering methods to fulfil these, I get angry when forced to buy at gunpoint.

Am I the only one?

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