A Bad Time to Place a Sales Call

Upselling and Cross Selling

If you want some interesting info about the best times to call someone, here’s some great research.

However, today, I’ll share a brief suggestion about when NOT to call.

I was in dire need of a power supply for my laptop. Mine died suddenly, and I was leaving in two days for a client training seminar where I would need it.

For some reason, my required model is a bit unusual, therefore somewhat scarce. Had to search online.

My first online attempt at the manufacturer’s site yielded a backorder message when attempting to order.

After visits to other power supply vendor sites came up empty, finally one of the large electronics retailers had them.

I placed the order online, and paid large for overnight delivery.

Then, just to be sure nothing fell through the cracks, I called their customer service department confirming my order, and that I would get it the next day. Check. Cool.

Then, within a couple of hours I got a voice mail from the company. Fearing the worst but hoping for the best about my order I called back.

The rep thanked me for my new order, and then proceeded to get into a pitch about some new service they offered where I can have my own customized site for ordering, yada, yada.

“What I’m most concerned about right now is that the order I just placed is here tomorrow. Can you confirm that again?”

“Uh, yeah,” the sales rep said,  obviously let down since he realized he wasn’t going to make a sale. “It’ll be there tomorrow.”

Ten o’clock the next day, no delivery yet.

One, two, three p.m., no delivery.

I called them. This rep nonchalantly told me that the item is backordered.

I was livid!

I asked to be transferred to the guy who called me the day before. I explained the situation to him as calmly as I could, although he probably didn’t feel that way.

He checked the system, and said that it looked like when they actually went to pick the order that they had run out already.

What!? You’re selling hi-tech electronics!

You’re telling me you don’t have the technology in place to track inventory and prohibit next-day air orders when you’re in fact backordered?”

Uh, yeah. That’s right, he said.

So what’s the moral of the story here?

It’s pretty simple, but apparently they didn’t get it here:

Calling a new customer after an order is a great strategy. HOWEVER, don’t place a call to sell more to a customer  in response to an initial sale, UNLESS you deliver on the initial sale.

(Want some great tips on how to do upselling and cross selling? Check out Jim Domanski’s book Add-On Selling.)

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