A letter to all the people calling or emailing to sell me things…

Randi DeSantis

Since these forums are mostly people selling things now, I thought this might be helpful...

For the past 17 years I have been on the receiving end of more sales pitches than I could ever attempt to remember. I have heard it all. I have also established a short list of MAJOR pet peeves along the way. I thought I would share them just in case they might be surprising or helpful at all. I should point out, these are not single time issues. These are all things I experience regularly. 

1.       This is a “no brainer” – I want you to think about this before you say it again. A “no brainer” implies that anyone who disagrees must not have a brain. You are telling executives, GMs, Owners and managers – people who you are trying to get to do business with you- that they must do what you are selling, or they do not have a brain. I have explained this to arrogant sales reps repeatedly, and they continue to do it. Well, I have a secret for you... YOU are not the expert when it comes to doing business at my organization. YOU do not know our budgets, plans, strategy, other products, etc. YOU only know your product. YOU do not have the knowledge to know what is or is not a “no brainer” in my organization, and you sound like an arrogant child when you use words that imply you do. I can appreciate if you are a master of your own domain, you should be, but do not assume just because you master your product, you know our dealership works. Also, your product would be one of HUNDREDS that we have in place here, you are not the most important thing I am doing today. Finally, using the term "No brainer" should NEVER be used when referring to anyone's behavior except your own. This isn't just a problem in sales pitches, it is a problem in general. You as an individual do not have the right to decide what is and is not a "no brainer" for anyone. The term is ONLY socially acceptable if you are using it in reference to your own behavior or your own decisions. In any other situation it makes you sound like an arrogant a**hole. 

2.       Stop sending me videos of your face talking to me. I will not watch them. They are annoying and I delete them instantly. Whoever is telling you this a great idea, share this post with them. I cannot be the only person who feels this way.

3.       Women reps, stop jiggling and giggling. It is 2021 and we are trying to turn the tides. The old school female reps that come in wearing their low-cut tops, jiggling and giggling and acting dumb… STOP. You are setting us all back decades. Know your product, lead with your expertise. Earn respect for what you bring to the table, not for how you look. And if you think that is the only way you can get in front of a decision maker- switch what you are selling.  Stop losing your dignity in an attempt to make a sale. This is especially annoying when women reps are super smart and professional experts around me, and switch to the jiggling/giggling act as soon as a man enters. STOP. For the love of women everywhere… JUST STOP.

4.       Take no for an answer. Sometimes, the answer is no. There are times when it is “no, it’s too expensive” and we can negotiate. But when the answer is NO… for another reason that I have thought out and explained thoroughly to you, just accept it. At some point you must start listening and understanding where I am coming from if you want me to keep answering the phone when you call. Sometimes the product just does not fit, so it does not matter how intelligent and charming you are, it just does not work for us. Respect that. Do not lose my respect because you cannot accept a “NO” gracefully. There are times when the answer might be "NO, not right now" and how you handle that will depend if there is an opportunity in the future. 

5.       STOP NAME DROPPING. I do not care about other dealerships in other markets. I just don’t. They do not impact my business. I do not find any other dealership so amazing that I am going to purchase a product just because they use it. I have numerous people in the dealership world that I admire and respect and I am not setting up demos for every product they use. What makes you think the one name you are dropping will mean anything more to me? Plus, respect that areas are different, internal processes and people are different, you cannot assume we're all cookie cutter versions of each other. 

6.       Your dealership experience, if it was any longer than two years ago and ANYTHING less than a GM, means NOTHING to me. I appreciate that you have lived dealership life, but it does not give your opinion any more weight in the conversation. I do not consult my sales reps and sales managers on most decisions, so it is highly unlikely I would consult you either.  I especially hate the stories of old men who were in the business 25 years ago… Sorry Bob, but things have changed a LITTLE bit in the industry since the 90s and I do not need to hear a long story about how YOU used to do things then.

I guess my rant is over. I would say "I am sorry" if this offends anyone, but should I really?

Suzanne  Laine

If this offends anyone, I bet it's only the "perps"! I love this piece; I actually began writing my own rant as an open letter to vendors several years ago, then decided if they want my advice they should have to pay for it! Anyway, I could add several of my own peeves, including potential vendors that somehow get my cell and call me there (really??), demos where vendors call the men in the room by their names, while the other female and I are referred to as "you ladies" (as in "what do you ladies think?"), sexist analogies that are somehow supposed to make me understand ideas they think are too complicated for me to understand (one actually started with, "You like buying shoes, right?"), potential vendors who pretend to know me so they'll be transferred to me immediately, and potential vendors who want to discuss products we need without even researching our online presence first (which covers 99% of them). I could go on and on!

Randi DeSantis

YES!!! I could give a dissertation on the sexist analogies. And for the love of god- STOP WITH THE SPORTS references. I don't care about sports. I am not going to learn about some stupid sports teams just to get the dumb analogy you're trying to tell me about. 

But, I hate the cellphone one too. Just because the last rep from your company was allowed to use my cellphone does NOT mean you are. 

Suzanne  Laine
Natalie Nielson

Thanks for your insights, Randi. This is extremely valuable for vendors to know what not to do. I would be interested as to what your opinion of 6 things that vendors can do to create partnerships with dealerships. I think not only would your insights help vendors moving forward but in addition, help the automotive industry as a whole! After all - dealerships do need vendor products to streamline productivity and assist their processes. What approach would you suggest? 

Randy Taylor

I've been following Driving Sales for a LONG time. This is the best thing I have ever read here. And I've waded through a lot.

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