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by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes

I’m just off a call where the salesperson could get 80 senior business leaders in a room to hear a presentation from me, on the basis, of course that they might, just might, buy something from me.  So what did I do 10 minutes before the call?  I went on the sales person’s website to read up on what the company did and I looked at the salesperson’s LinkedIn profile. Time well invested I thought.

The salesperson took me through a long 10 minute pitch, qualifying the types of companies we work with.  The thing was, I knew this was going to be a pitch and I knew this even before the sales person had spoken.  Why?  Because the website was written in a way that I knew they were selling, not buying. (Don’t forget I get paid to speak.) I had also looked at the salesperson’s LinkedIn profile, let’s call him Ben (not his real name) and it was obvious from his profile he was a sales person.

Why does this all matter?

Ben’s call with me assumed I knew nothing about his company and I knew nothing about him.  But in fact, you could say I was already ahead of him.

Whereas Ben knew nothing about me (there is a lot about me on social media 🙂 ) and knew nothing about our company, our website is here

I’m sorry but this is all so last century.

This wasn’t a cold call.  Ben had approached me to speak at one of his events, so I must have met some criteria along the line.

Ben’s pitch to me was just words, I knew he was going to pitch to me and to think somebody had carefully crafted this and Ben had learnt it. Even the close, I’m sure is uttered by the sales team, time after time.

Is This Really Where We Should be in Enterprise Sales?

So what would I expect?

  1. A quick look on companies house will see that the investment he asked for was roughly 10% of turnover, do you really think a company is going to invest that much in an event?If your answer to that is, you only get what you ask for, I agree, but where is the desire building?  Tell me something I don’t know.  The customer examples used on the call could come from any customer, the words just washed over me.  Tell me what you can do for me, not some abstract example.
  2. Tell me based on your experience, after all you are the expert, not me, how your proposition will make an impact to your customers.Quote back to me, my website, blog, book.  I remember doing a sales course on cassettes (remember those) in the car.  The person running the course always said, “create desire and match back to requirements”.
  3. Permission Marketing by Seth Godin recently had it’s 20th anniversary.The book explains how people want to be treated as individuals.  Surely looking me up on LinkedIn or companies website would help you to tailor your pitch to me?  Flatter me, we all like to be flattered.
  4. You are pitching to me and apart from your LinkedIn profile screams at me “salesperson” there is nothing wrong with being authentic, I guess.  There is only one job on there.  It’s a description about your role.  Nothing about who you are, what drives you, your passion.  If you cannot get passionate about your job why should I?
  5. I’m a CEO.While sales is important, I’m looking for “partners”.  For example we use companies like Passle, Brandwatch and Leadfeeder. They are not just suppliers, they are partners, in fact I would go so far as to say they are friends.  Our success is their success. Ben has a lot on his LinkedIn profile about partners.  That is, if I spent money with him would be a partner.  But where is the insight on his LinkedIn profile?  Where is the education?  Tell me something I don’t know?  In fact Ben has shared anything, hasn’t written a blog.  In other words it’s wooden and corporate. Maybe people have already decided to say know even before the sales pitch had started.


These are just 5 “table stakes” errors that are easily rectified and while Ben is selling something reasonable low value, if you are selling anything of £100K ($130K) upwards this are school boy errors that are unforgivable.

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