Editor’s note: Terri Grauer is a consultant and writer specializing in the application of technologies to business challenges. Sanity Check is a regular feature in Local Tech Wire.
_______________________________________________________________________________________If sales were easy, everyone would do it.

It’s not easy putting yourself “out there” day after day and some days I wonder why I bother. Then I remember why I chose this field of endeavor. I love the product; I love the solution I represent. I truly believe in what I am selling and what it can do for the average IT customer.

I’d like to tell you the money is great, but honestly, it’s not that overwhelming (I made much more as a storage engineer/architect). So why do I continue down this path day after day?

I have a very honest answer, after looking deep within myself over the past few days.

I like being the ‘hero’.

I enjoy coming to the rescue of others.

I relish the idea of having the answer to the problems that have confounded brilliant minds.

More Than Money

I know many salespeople who are in the sales game just for the money, and “God Bless them” they don’t seem to last too long with any particular company or product. They jump from one technology to the next, seeking the next ‘big money train’ to ride for a while; yet always missing the payoff.

Then there are the ‘lucky ones’ who seem to be in the right place at the right time, always capitalizing on the hottest technology at the moment.

I would say I am more like the tortoise than the hare, moving along at a steady pace, keeping to my game plan, winning more than I lose.

Trying To Help

Lately I’ve noticed a rather nasty trend among the people I call upon. They are just downright nasty to cold callers. I’ve discussed this with others in my profession and it seems to be the trend. Business people are just downright mean when answering the phone now. We know you are busy, we know you are overworked, we know you are doing the jobs of at least three people — why do you think we’re calling? We are trying to help.

Well, most of us are trying to help. I am not trying to sell you a timeshare you can’t use because you can’t possibly take a vacation anyway. I am trying to talk to you about a network management tool that can do ten times the work of your current management tool at a fraction of the cost of your current framework tool.

Trust me, being in IT sales today is like being in car sales, everyone is willing to live with what they are driving today regardless of how much it costs them to fill up their tanks.

In other words, if I am still in IT sales it’s because I really believe in the product, not because I am making ‘easy money’.

Salespeople (of all professions) have long since had bad reputations for trying to sell you something you didn’t want; but how is that really possible? I represent a product that solves problems; network management and monitoring problems.

Either you have those problems and you need a solution; or you don’t. It’s not like I am going to talk you into buying a BMW while we’re talking about bandwidth utilization reporting. I am not going to slip in an ‘undercoating’ charge on the invoice for training.

In the IT world products are not purchased on a whim, there are no ’emotional’ buys made while in the ‘check-out’ lane. So why are business people so leery of talking with an IT salesperson?

A ‘Cold Call’ Can Be Beneficial

I believe people are most leery of talking to salespeople because they are sure it will be a waste of their time. I know that’s how I feel when my phone rings at home; and 98 percent of the time I am correct. There is the 2 percent of the time that the sales call is helpful and worth my time.

The difference for me is when I am at work. If I am cold called at work I take the call. I listen to the pitch and when the caller is done I give them my feedback right away. I might learn something from the caller, I might need their product.

If not, I tell them no right away so they can move on to the next person on their list immediately. Sales is a numbers game — the more calls made, the more opportunities identified, the more possibilities for closing a deal.

My thought on the topic for everyone is, not everyone who cold calls you will waste your time; and no everyone who is trying to sell you something is just trying to sell you something; sometimes they are really trying to be helpful.

Terri Grauer is a consultant and writer specializing in the application of technologies to business challenges. She can be reached via email at terri@nthet.net