Sales … Avoid the Douchebaggery

Yesterday morning I received a special offer from an ad sales agent to advertise in a brewing industry magazine. The email, written by a guy we will call John, wasn’t rude. For some reason though, his request bothered me. It was so very one-sided. He really wanted to know what I could do for him. He phrased it as if he was doing me a favor by telling me which ad I could place in their next edition.

I don’t get too excited by opportunities in print magazines claiming to reach millions of beer lovers every month. A couple years back, I calculated that if you placed a full-page ad in all the industry magazines each month, it would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of a year. It’s not worth even a fraction of that in my opinion. You cannot track if the expense yield results unless you have a coupon offer or promo code in it. Unfortunately, I’ve tried that before too. Maybe that works for peas and carrots at the grocery store, but it doesn’t seem to work with hops.

Back to our ad salesman … He didn’t care about my time or what might be in my best interest. Well, to be fair, I should say that if he did care, he didn’t communicate that very well to his target. He acted as if we were old friends and he was just checking back in with me (we’re not friends and this was a cold email). He cared about selling ad space for the magazine, not about me.

Actually, the email arrived at just the right time for another reason. We had a sales meeting yesterday afternoon and I was thinking about what I would say to the group. The email from John helped. I emphasized to our team that nobody really wants to buy anything from a company. People want to buy something from a person who cares about them and who will try to solve their problems. Being personable might not result in a sale every time, but treating people like people, not accounts, is the right thing to do and that they should keep that in mind. That, in my opinion, is what sales should be about, taking care of people. If that’s not possible, please let me buy what I need online. I’d rather not interact with douchebag salespeople if I don’t have to.