If you build it, they will come. Salespeople, that is. If you own or manage a business, you will have to handle salespeople coming around, offering to supply you with this or that. That’s what our Aire-Master sales representatives do, in fact — a lot of cold-calling. (If your facility has a public restroom, you’ll probably get a visit from us eventually.)
When you’re busy, the last thing you want to do is drop everything and talk to some pushy salesman. With a bit of planning, you can handle salespeople easily and comfortably. Here’s how.
First, you must face the fact that if you are in business, you need suppliers. They help you get your work done. The next salesperson that drops in on you might actually have a great solution to a challenge you have or a way to save you money on something you really need. So having a strict NO SOLICITORS policy is short-sighted. (Experienced salespeople will ignore your sign on the door anyway.)
The way to handle salespeople is to schedule a set time to meet with potential vendors. For example, Thursdays from 2:30 – 3:00. Each sales representative gets ten minutes, tops. When a salesperson drops in, all you have to do is tell them to set an appointment on the next available Thursday.
The salesperson will happily set an appointment and leave quickly. When they come back, they’ll be prepared and won’t waste your valuable time. This gives you an opportunity to see what kind of service you can expect from this company. If the salesperson misses the appointment, shows up late, or isn’t properly prepared, you know all you need to know.
If it goes well and you want to discuss matters beyond the ten minutes, schedule a follow-up. Give the salesperson specific questions you want them to answer next time. Otherwise, give them a polite but firm “Thanks, but no thanks.” Above all, be professional and respectful. Like you, the salesperson is just trying to get their work done.
Talking to a salesperson doesn’t have to be confrontational, uncomfortable, or time consuming. It should be a mutually beneficial process, and it will be if you plan for it.