How many of these calls do you get in a week? How do you deal with them? Am I too harsh?

Yesterday, I was working on a senior level sales leadership role. The phone rings most of the day, I dial when it’s not ringing. Three times yesterday I had “check in” calls from sales people trying to pitch a product. You know the call – “Steve, just checking in, how are things today?” This makes me want to puke, scream, rip my phone out of the wall and puke again. Stop “checking in” people.

So, the poor third guy I called out on it. He was selling enterprise ATS software designed for corporate clients. There’s 7 of us on my system, his software is geared towards 1000+ users. “Why do you ‘check in’ with me?” He stopped and mumbled through how valuable his software was and could be. The guy knew nothing about me. He had zero clue if his software offering could improve my workflow – he didn’t know if I had a workflow. I let him off with a simple, “hey, if you have something relevant to how I do business, or a piece of information I’m not aware of in MY marketplace, call me. Otherwise, it’s a waste of your time.” His response was classic. “Like what?” 3 1/2 minutes of my day gone.

You’re in sales? What’s your value proposition? The only way you’re making your day worthwhile is by adding value to a customer or potential customer. Every other action is worthless. This goes for any type of sales activity. Whether you are selling yourself as a potential candidate to an employer, selling cloud space to a CIO, or ice to the proverbial Eskimo, you MUST bring value with a call. No matter how minute, bring value.

Then I thought – maybe it’s the manager’s issue. Metrics for metrics sake? Was I another tick mark that he made his xteenth call for the hour? If so, as sales leaders, we need to reconsider our methods. Solutions? I don’t have them, but I do gauge call quality vs quantity. It’s pretty darn subjective – but better than wasting time that could be used on either quality calls, or rejuvenation outside of the office.

We’re going a million miles an hour. So, before you pick up the phone today, before every single call, ask yourself – what value am I bringing, not in the future, but on this call to the person on the other end? If you can’t definitively answer that, don’t make the call. Please. It doesn’t need to be earth shattering. It may be a bit of news related to your prospects business, a referral for them, something real. Otherwise, delete from your Outlook or wait until you have something of value. Whatever you do, don’t “check-in” with me. My wife does that several times a day…but I love her, so she can get away with it.

Am I too hard on these calls? Don’t we deserve better from sales people?