A sales representative from a very popular social networking website recently called me selling advertising. I work as a marketing and booking manager for professional speakers and I'm frequently the first point of contact for sales people who are marketing to my clients. I also help my clients figure out the best ways to market themselves.
This particular sales person gave me her spiel and I listened patiently. After all, I can empathize with her. I asked a few questions and she gave me vague answers. So I asked what sales people hate - I asked for the cost right up front so that I could get a straight answer. Her response was, "Are you the decision maker? Do you have the final say?"
Riipppppp - I could hear the needle ripping off a record player and my defenses immediately went up. This is a question all sales people want to know the answer to - but how you learn the answer takes skill. My answer, through gritted teeth, was, "No. My. Client. Makes. The. Final. Decision. But I will be the one learning about what you are selling and I'll be the one you end up working with on this."
The sales person had made a mistake - she insulted the influencer. She insinuated that I might not be worth her time or that I didn't have authority in the buying decision. I immediately (and amateurishly) thought, "I'll show you."
Actually, I plan on finding out more from this salesperson so that I can advise my client accordingly. However, it was a lesson to me, as one who frequently makes sales calls, about what NOT to say.