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Not Now. Or Ever. July 31, 2009

Posted by Chuck Musciano in Random Musings.
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I have been known to rant a bit on what I perceive to be annoying sales practices.  Just when you think you’ve seen it all, someone comes up with yet another way to completely irritate a potential customer.  The latest trick is the “presumptive appointment.”

With the universal adoption of calendaring systems, most everyone has grown accustomed to receiving appointment invitations via email.  While such appointments are very common within an organization, they’ve generally not expanded beyond organizations.  Recently, however, people have been sending more invitations to people outside of their email domain, which is generally useful and makes scheduling a meeting a little easier.

That’s where the annoying salespeople come in.  Lately I’ve gotten meeting requests from salespeople for meetings I did not agree to attend.  In the body of the message, they do not ask for my time; rather, they ask me to supply a different time if their proposed time is not convenient.  The real question, whether I want to meet with them, is ignored.

This is like someone showing up at your house, unannounced, looking for dinner.  When you awkwardly try to refuse their request, they innocently ask, “Oh, is this not a good time to have dinner?  When would be better for you?” Well, how about “never?”

A responsible salesperson goes about this in a different way. After a productive introductory conversation, he or she might ask if a follow-up meeting is in order.  If I agree, we then compare calendars and find a mutually convenient time.  To close out that negotiation, I’ll ask them to send a meeting request to confirm the appointment.  The calendar entry represents the result of our negotiation, not the starting point.

I am constantly amazed at how rude a small subset of salespeople can be.  All the hardworking, polite salespeople that go about things in the right way should beat these ignorant few with a stick. Are there large groups of people that accept these invitations without prior discussion?  If so, stop!  Like the insane people that respond to spam email, you are only encouraging more bad behavior.  We’re all suffering as a result.

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Comments»

1. Krishna Moorthy - July 31, 2009

A “classic” tactic, and not that much different from the “so will that be two boxes of thin mints or ten?” method of pushing cookies.

This one line from this post really does stand out: “The calendar entry represents the result of our negotiation, not the starting point.”

2. susan mazza - July 31, 2009

This practice has “used car salesman” written all over it. Wondering if these kinds of practices continue because they actually work often enough to encourage the “offender” or if they actually will die out.

3. Mike Henry - July 31, 2009

It’s amazing what people will do. It seems like a challenge to make sure and “reward” their behavior in an equally painful way. Having spent a lot of money on software in the past, I don’t envy you now.

4. John Baker - July 31, 2009

In the old days you would have a gatekeeper that would protect your calendar and you from untoward advances. Perhaps Microsoft or Google or whoever will create a more intelligent filtering agent to qualify the calendar invite and accept/reject on your behalf.

5. Ernie Huber - August 2, 2009

I am seeing this as well as some other pretty sketchy tactics.

I try to attribute it to desperate acts by those who are panicked about losing their jobs but they do make it increasing difficult to remain professional in responding to them.

6. courtney benson - August 3, 2009

Totally unprofessional and when used gives sales such a bad name. Very low level tactic and is never used by the best.

7. Wayne Bogan - August 4, 2009

The delete button is a wonderful tool. 🙂 I see this and hit delete each time.


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