In among the constant barrage of sales calls we receive every day, there will be a few that are worth listening to, says Peter Hancock
Sitting in the head office of an organisation that deliberately tries to look bigger than it is, we are never surprised by the number of calls we get each day from companies offering their services; everything from TV advertising to drain clearance.
The clue is in the opening announcement: "could I speak to the owner of the business?" or "who is in charge of your marketing?" rather than asking for one of us by name. Certainly, there is no excuse for wasting people's time having done no research in advance. I think the worst opener of all is "did you get my email?" to which I have been known to pompously reply: "Would you care to start again by saying who you are and what you are selling?"
Against this backdrop, it's easy to start viewing sales calls as a nuisance and to, perhaps unfairly, treat everyone who tries to interest you in his or her products as a parasite to be avoided or got rid of at all costs.
If, like me, you are a habitual attendee at industry functions, you will have heard lavish praise heaped on the companies who put money into conferences, awards ceremonies and our beloved hospitality charities. That's all very well, but if someone from one of those companies tries to contact you a few days later, will the applause have morphed into indifference? Too often, I fear the answer is yes.
So here's a recommendation from someone with a foot in both camps. Yes, lots of grubby salespeople are after your money and have little to offer in return. Shun all approaches, however, and you could be missing chances to save money, delight your customers or have problems solved for you. Surely that's worth a few minutes of anyone's time.
Peter Hancock is the chief executive of Pride of Britain hotels
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