How Sales Reps (Mis)Handled My Inquiry


Add this one to the “I Just Have to Shake My Head in Amazement” sales file, under the “Following Up On Leads” category.

Bear with me as a rant a bit about an experience this past month. There are plenty of sales lessons here.

I was looking for some space to rent for a video studio to get my growing collection of lights, backdrops, tripods etc. out of my house.
I had very specific needs that could have easily been met by any number of property owners and managers with spare space.

So I went online after hours and did searches for listings in the area I wanted. I filled out at least 10 online forms stating very specifically what I was looking for, what I was looking to pay, and that I was ready to rent TODAY.

The results?

One rep got back to me the next day by email, saying he didn’t have anything. No offer for a referral to a colleague (don’t these people talk to each other?), no “Thanks for thinking of us. If you get to the point where you are looking for more full-service, larger space, I would enjoy working with you.”

TWO days later, I got an email from a rep with another property. It was pretty much a template with attachments of brochures for several of their properties. None of which came close to the criteria I very clearly stated in my inquiry. It was obvious she paid no attention to what I specifically said I needed. In the canned email she wrote that she’d like to set a time for me to come by one of her properties and learn what my requirements were. Really.

On the third day after filling out the forms, I got another templated email from a corporate property management office, thanking me for my interest, with links to their various properties, and asking me to fill out a form on their site that asked about my requirements. Seriously. You can’t make this stuff up.

Also on the third day, one rep sent an email saying that he didn’t have exactly what I was looking for, but sent me information on something that was close, but still bigger and more expensive than what I needed. He actually READ what I filled out. Woo-hoo!

The ONLY call I got from these forms was FIVE days afterwards. From a local rep from the corporate management company I mentioned earlier. I asked him why he didn’t call sooner. He dejectedly admitted that he just got the lead, and that’s the way they work. Again. Amazing.

Oh, I did get a call the first day I filled out the forms. I had also placed an ad on Craigslist in the Property category, also with my very specific criteria. The call came within an hour of the ad going live online. It was from a building owner who had space that was bigger and more expensive than I needed. I thanked him for the call, and he said,

“Why don’t you take a look at some pictures, and if it looks good we can talk about price later.”

He sent the pics, I liked the space. A lot.

He called back an hour later. Now I’m getting interested. I told him it was still more than I was looking to pay since I wasn’t looking for something that big.
He said he was motivated to just get someone in there. Not a great negotiating tactic. But read on.

I went to look at it. He knew I wouldn’t take the time to do that if I wasn’t somewhat serious myself.

Bottom line, he dropped his price. Not to what I originally wanted to pay, but I was willing to come up since I loved the space.

Lots of sales lessons here:

– A lead is like a burning match. The fire (interest and opportunity) will go out quickly. Jump on them as soon as you see them.

– One person who is motivated, and cares, can outsell a mammoth corporation with inefficient impersonal systems and employees who are just collecting a paycheck.

– Despite someone saying your price is outside of their budget, keep in mind that a budget is usually just an adjustable nebulous thing. And there almost always is someone who can make a decision to go outside of it, IF they see a reason to do so.

-What someone really WANTS will override what someone thinks they just need. Find out what that is and you will find your selling is easier.


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