Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lazy Sales Reps

Some days in the office of a magazine editor and publisher are more challenging than others, and I'm not talking about the work of writing or editing or generating enough revenue to keep it all going. No, the real challenge is keeping my cool when dealing with lazy, uninformed sales reps who solicit my business.

Case in point: Today, I received a call from a young woman who works for a printing company. First, she calls me up, talks so fast that I never catch her name or the name of her company. Then, she asks if her (still-a-mystery) company could print Houston Woman Magazine.

She paused to take a breath, so I was able to squeeze in this question: "Have you ever seen our magazine?"

She responds, "Well, ah, no. But, I've seen your website."

Needless to say, I was annoyed.

Without ever seeing Houston Woman Magazine how would she even know if her (still-a-mystery) company had the capabilities to print our type of magazine or handle the size of our press run?

I didn't scream at her, but I did give her unsolicited advice about the importance of "doing the homework" when one is in sales. If I embarrassed her, so be it. Somebody (maybe her boss) should be mentoring her!

Sadly, that young woman was not the first sales rep for a printing company who has called and annoyed me in the same way.

Just a few weeks ago I had a sales rep from another local printing company (this one a big, well-known one) call me up and ask if I would mail her some back issues so she "could figure out if they could do the printing."

I told her, "No, but you can order a single copy of the current issue online. The cost is $7.

Instead of saying, "Great. I'll do that and get back to you," she responded in a weak and timid voice, "I'll see if my boss will approve the expense."

I've never heard from that sales rep again, and I thank God. Dealing with clueless sales reps really tests my patience.

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