Lately, I’ve started answering sales calls. Yes, those unexpected interruptions that occur just as you’re settling into work. As a father and husband, I never set my phone to Do Not Disturb or Focus mode, as there’s always the underlying fear of a call from school or camp with news about my children. This leaves the field open for inside sales representatives to make their pitch.
Inside representatives arguably have one of the most challenging roles. Their job isn’t primarily to sell a product, but rather to persuade you quickly of the value in scheduling a meeting with their outside representative – the individual who stands to earn commission from a successful sale. If the company has a savvy VP of Sales – think ‘Defina’ type – the inside rep might see a slice of that commission, but it’s usually wishful thinking. So, the task of the inside rep is to sell the idea of a meeting where the product demonstration, sales pitch, or next steps are mutually agreed upon.
In the past, I’d skip these calls, ignore them, or sometimes respond rudely.
“How dare you intrude on my time with a sales call. I’m swamped with work, family, life in general – I don’t have time for this.”
But something shifted. I can’t pinpoint exactly what sparked the change, but one day, I decided to answer the call on a whim. The product was intriguing, the pitch well-executed. It didn’t result in a purchase, but the experience wasn’t unpleasant.
Now, I don’t answer every time, but more often than not, I do entertain the call to see if there’s any way I can be of assistance. If I’m deep in work, I courteously decline and request a follow-up email. If I’m available, I take the call. I listen to the pitch, ask questions, provide feedback, and express my thoughts honestly. I approach these interactions with kindness, openness, and a spirit of generosity. I strive to be helpful, to be a decent person.
So yes, I now take the call.