Updated: Mar 21, 2020
When selling to the CIO
Top Ten Things not to do to Successfully Sell to the CIO (or at least to survive the “instant delete” round).
Cold calling is a difficult job. I certainly would not want to have to do it. I generally try to choose vendors based on research and/or recommendation. Accepting a vendor meeting from a random email is kind of like buying from Ebay. You really never know how it will go, until it is too late. But for those of you intrepid software/hardware vendors that are hell bent on using the cold call/email approach here are the 10 things that are guarantees to cause the delete button to be engaged.
“Don't send me offers for gift cards to meet you.”
1. Spell my name right. Did I really need to tell you that? Apparently for many of you I really must.
2. Know what my company does. Please don’t try to sell restaurant point of sale software to me. I am not the CIO for an Iron Chef.
3. Spend 5 minutes to review what you send. Do not just import the address you got from the mailing list directly into mail/email merge program. Letters that are addressed to “Dear Mr. Smith, L J “ really lose that personal connection you are trying so hard to make. 4. Don’t request a “read receipt” from me. Instant delete! It is bad enough that the NSA, Facebook and Google are already tracking me.
5. Don’t send me offers for gift cards to meet you. First of all, it is just plain wrong to bribe people into meeting with you. Secondly, it probably violates most company policies, and maybe even some laws, to accept gifts from vendors. Finally, it is really insulting to me that you think I am sorry or desperate enough to forgo my ethics for a Starbucks gift card.
6. Don’t send your assistant to ask me to a meeting. Any email that starts out “my Director, Mr. X, is in your area on Tuesday April 22 at 9:15 and would like to meet with you” gets deleted. Wait; better yet, I’ll have my assistant delete it.
7. Resist the impulse to send an email the instant after you leave a voicemail. If I had the time or inclination to answer the phone, I would have.
8. Learn when to give up. Persistence may be a valuable, but there is a limit. When you receive no reply after say, 3 attempts, don’t continue to fill the inbox (voice and email) with additional messages. It stands to reason that if I am not interested the first 5 times, I am not interested in the 6th.
9. Don’t send me a list of the 10 dates and times that we can meet in the next 2 months. If anything will convince me to meet you it is a reasoned outline of the product you sell and why it benefits my company, not the fact that you happen to be free.
10. Don’t solicit me if my company is already a customer. If we already buy your goods or services, we probably won’t buy it twice.
Put yourself in my shoes for a moment. I receive 30 or so emails/voicemails per day from well-meaning vendors. If I actually invest only 5 minutes in each unsolicited email/call to understand and adequately respond, I will spend 150 minutes per day, or 12.5 hours each week doing work that has little likelihood of material benefit. So please, save us all the time, the money and frustration and focus on your audience. Do your research on who we are, and what our companies do. If you help us see “what’s in it for us” then I am certain the results will show.
Mr. Guest CIO