Marketing 101: How to Handle a Difficult Sales Call -- Perfectly!
Last updated: 6/16/2002; 10:21:40 AM
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Marketing 101: How to Handle a Difficult Sales Call -- Perfectly!

Like a lot people out there today, I download and install a lot of software.  I think that sometimes a week doesn't go by when I don't download something new.  And, yes, the vendors do ask for phone numbers sometime.  Perhaps surprisingly to you, I don't always lie about.  Any kind of person to person interaction gives a chance to learn something new.  Also, when you work from, with cats, you don't always get the "socialization" that you might want.  Anyway…  Today I got a sales call from someone and they handled it perfectly.  Honest to god – perfectly. 

So here's what happened.  The phone rings and it was a David Leonard from Starbase,  I had downloaded CodeWright, a very, very powerful editor, about a week ago and he wanted to know how it was going.  I won't say that I was rude but I will say that I was a bit harsh i.e. "I'm an ex-user from 5 or 6 years ago and I can't see what's been updated.  It doesn't do X, Y, Z."  David could have very easily said something like "Maybe the product isn't for you.  Thanks for you time", hung up, and then thought "Fool!".  He didn't.  What he did was very simple but it worked.  He did this:

  1. He said something like (paraphrased, he did a much better job) "Well, CodeWright is a really powerful product, I think we do what you need, can I conference in a support person to assist?".  I said "Sure".
  2. Tom Berkemeier from support got on the line immediately and, using the same gentle approach, pointed out that every single one of my objections was actually handled in the software.  Do this, Do that, etc.  And, even better, he was just as helpful and polite as David.
  3. At the end of the call David gave me all the contact info so I can get more assistance if I need it.

End result – will I buy the product?  I'm not certain but I now know that it does everything I need from an editor editor (open binary files, open files > 600 megabytes in size (no, that's not a typo and yes, it does work), support PHP coloring, save to FTP servers, committ to CVS, etc). 

David did an outstanding job – he took a difficult customer, recognized that more technical assistance was needed, got it promptly, made sure my questions were answered and then put me in control for follow up. 

This is a model to follow for your own sales calls.

And if You're Really Geeky: Here's the coolest feature I've seen yet in an editor – Code Meeting, a peer to peer multi user IM session for reviewing code in groups.


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