Everything in sales has changed.  Or has it?  There was no evidence of that in the prospecting call I got today – or so many others I get weekly.   I picked up this call because my phone showed a local number, which by the way was part of the product this friendly salesperson was pitching.

Within a matter of seconds, he was telling me about a new prospecting technology and referencing the names of a few of his company’s impressive customers.  I interrupted and explained I was expecting a call.  He did make a second effort.  I offered my email address to end the call. He missed the chance to ask if he could ask a question to make sure what he sent was relevant.

His email arrived immediately.  Other than Hey Linda, not one other word was specific to me.   It described the features and benefits of his product.  In my response email I thanked him and explained in one sentence I was not a good fit.  He emailed again requesting 10 minutes.  I wrote back that I loved his persistence but was not a fit in any way.

Persistence aside, his call wasted his and my time. How many calls like this go on every day?  I think the old ‘dialing for dollars’ model of prospecting is so embedded that it has become the default setting.

Like so many salespeople, this prospector was practicing pre-technology age selling.  The smallest bit of research would have shown if I were a prospect and if so, helped him identify some relevant content that could have used to capture my interest. Instead of sending me boiler plate email, he could have offered to send a report, or research, or an article that would add value or referenced something I had posted on my website. What did he think I needed?

It got me wondering about his firm. I sensed this salesperson had real potential, but wasn’t his marketing team providing content?  Where was the training group?  What about his sales manager?

Is dialing for dollars model so entrenched that salespeople will continue to lag behind what today’s customers expect from them?  What will it take to debug the model to bring it into the age of technology/age of the customer?  And is Hey the best salutation for all customers?

Effective prospecting is not innate for most salespeople.  But ineffective models are habits, not hard wired.  What can be done to help salespeople use the resources available to change their prospecting conversations?  Training, marketing, coaching, tools?  Yes, all of the above—consistently and repeatedly.