Not Now. Or Ever. July 31, 2009Posted by Chuck Musciano in Random Musings.
Tags: Communication, Customer Service, Sales
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.