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Why Are My Customers So Rude?

Many companies are replacing outside sales positions with inside sales positions because it's just too expensive, for many produc...t categories, to have people traveling to meet individual customers.  However, inside sales presents some unique challenges, even for seasoned sales professionals.   Here's an email from a successful outside sales pro, who's struggling with an inside sales job:

I sell business solutions, and despite them being a little pricey, I am within inside sales. I used to have a similar role in a similar industry (with about 30% of time spent out meeting prospect), and I was fiercely successful. I was the top salesperson at that time and I would meet or exceed my target every month.

Now that I'm in inside sales I find myself hitting brick walls and have yet been able to make a breakthrough. It's very frustrating for me because I am not sure what I'm doing wrong where I cannot replicate my success in a similar company.

The main problem is not even getting to negotiation and I've been facing alot of obstacles getting the right person or even their attention. I read a number of your articles on cold calling and their scripts, but nothing has worked for me. Worse, my morale is hit when I deal with rude people.

Here's one that I've just experienced, which spurred me on to write to you:

  • Me: Hi good day, I wanted to find out if there is a research department in the company who helps asset managers get their business information? I tried looking at your website but it doesn't say much.
  • Rude man: No.
  • Me: Do you mean you don't have a dedicated research team?
  • Rude man: No we don't have one.
  • Me: Oh okay (a little surprised.) So who is that person who takes care of the research on news then? Is there no one handling that at the moment?
  • Rude man: Why do you need to know? I don't even know you, where you're calling from and you're asking company information.
  • Me: Oh sorry about that. My name is (xxx xxx from xxxx) Well, I want to find out so that I can speak with the most appropriate person...
  • Rude man: No. Forget it. *Hangs up.*

I know I should have introduced myself, but I'll introduce myself after he is able to tell me if there is a research team, and asks what's this in regards to. I'm just surprised at the amount of rudeness there is to people who cold call.

Is there any advise for people in inside sales in their cold calling, dealing with rude and irritable people over the phone?   I'm at my wits end and I can't change my job. I need to make this work.

Your problem is not uncommon.  But take heart; it's pretty easy to address.

You are making three errors.

Your first error is a lousy cold-calling script.  When cold calling, you've got to introduce yourself immediately.

I suspect that you stopped doing this because you were getting hang-ups and are hoping, by inserting some mystery into the discussion, to keep the conversation going.

However, when you don't identify yourself immediately, you're positioning yourself as headhunter or an industrial spy, and that's scaring the prospect.  So, your first job is to rewrite your script. Here's a post with a strong script that you can adapt:

Your second error is  that you're thinking about cold-calling the wrong way.  The purpose of cold-calling is NOT to have conversations and discover if there is an opportunity.  The purpose is to eliminate leads so that you don't waste time trying to develop opportunities that aren't real.

The REALLY rude person is the contact who has no intention of buying or interest in buying but, out of boredom, confusion or pure cussedness, keeps you on the phone, stringing the conversation out.  They pretend to be listening and let you go ahead and pitch, but they're really answer emails, playing solitaire, or whatever.

Think these folks don't exist?  Think again.  I've had some comments on this blog from people who do that sort of thing just to be annoying to sales professionals.

Therefore, when somebody hangs up on you right away, it's a good thing because it tells you that, for whatever reason, that lead is a waste of your time.  So you should feel GOOD when you get a hang-up because you figured that out in the minimum amount of time possible.

The third, and most important, error that you're making is "owning" the prospect's rudeness and letting it affect your morale.  By coincidence, this morning's post addresses this issue.  Please check it out:

The gist of that post is that most rejections aren't real, and that even the real rejections are actually helpful and necessary parts of being successful, providing you manage your attitude.  Trust me; it's an important post and worth reading.

READERS: Any more suggestions?

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