Monday, September 11, 2006

Pesky Salesmen (Or Maybe Support Reps)

I'm posting this so that I can point an unnamed person who keeps emailing me at it and then reuse the same response the next time this happens to me. Feel free to cut and paste this or send a link to your own pesky salesman.



Not-so-dear stranger:

I tried out several competing applications recently. I had a need that they all claimed to fill. They were each top hits when I searched for applications of that type. Your application was one of them.

After evaluating them, I determined which one I wanted to use. Yours wasn't it.

Before I had even finished my evaluation, I received an email from you thanking me for evaluating your product and telling me what it did. This struck me as odd, because if I hadn't already known what it claimed to do I wouldn't have downloaded it now would I?

A few days later you emailed me again with an offer to help me in my evaluation. Persistent bugger, aren't you?

A few days after that, yet another mail to see if I needed more time to evaluate your app. Trust me, I don't.

Moreover, maybe it's just me, but I absolutely hate people trying to sell me things. Yes, I had shown some kind of interest by downloading the software in the first place, but that doesn't mean I wanted to talk to any sales or support staff. If I had, I would have taken the initiative (the same kind of initiative it took to understand what your product does and to download it) to either email or call your company. I'm not shy. Honest.

Frankly, I wasn't intending to respond at all. I felt I'd already invested enough of my own time in using your software and determining that there are better products on the market. I felt that it wasn't worth spending more of my personal time dealing with you.

The more I thought about it, though, the more I empathized with you. You're probably a nice enough fellow. You probably believe in your product and just want to show everyone how wonderful it is (or isn't). At the very least, I owe you this bit of advice: please don't sell so hard to me. Or anyone else who only downloads your app. We don't expect or want that. It's the kind of behavior that entirely sours people on a company.

If you really want to be personally available to help me when I evaluate your product, I suggest you talk to your developers and have them make your contact information easily accessible through the application. The phone numbers and email address you sent me so that I could contact you with any questions? Put them in the app! For that matter, this is the 21st century - give me some IM contact info, too. Let me know up-front that my *personal* support or sales (or whatever your position is) representative for my trial of the product is Bill Smith (not his real name). But stay out of my face with it until I actually want help, please.

Ok, that's enough ranting from me. I'm not trying to ruin your day. I was just hoping to provide some insight on this particular customer and give you some personal feedback. We only grow as people by helping other people grow, right?

Thanks for your time and good luck in the future!

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