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The Surefire Sales Pitch

Every day — and I mean every day! — I am contacted by Internet sales gurus. I kid you not: they’re more prolific than cockroaches and harder to stop. Whoever thinks cockroaches will be the only things left after some hypothetical atomic war destroys the earth — please send me your formula for avoiding Internet sales gurus.

On the other hand, sometimes their “sales acumen” can brighten a rainy, dreary, otherwise-uneventful day; other times, they just remind me why so many of us think of them as cockroaches.

It appears there are a thousand Internet sales gurus for every person who might conceivably need them — and no one really needs them — on this planet, but they all have more-or-less the same spiel. Nowhere will you find a clearer, funnier, presentation of this spiel than from your prototypical Internet sales guru, or from Mother Goose & Grimm’s strip of April 21, 2010. (I don’t know how to link the specific strip I want; it may be they don’t want to allow that. It would be way cool if you could do some kind of “embed” thing, like with YouTube, to incorporate a strip with a post from time-to-time. Anyway….) Because from what I can tell, while they make far too many unsuccessful calls to me, they spend the rest of their time preying on others coming up behind them. It’s like a giant Ponzi Employment Scheme.

I have to admit: I’ve gotten to the point where I try to find the fastest (but still polite) way to rid myself of them. After all, I may not approve of the “career choice” they’ve made — and, believe me, I don’t: hit men serve a more useful purpose to society — but I recognize that they’re just trying to make a living.

So today, for example, after realizing the guy on the phone was such a creature (e.g., an Internet Sales Guru, or ISG; not a hit man) and after being told they were looking for a DUI attorney from the area to be “their” own DUI dude, the conversation went something like this:

ME: You’ll want to keep looking, then; I’m not that dude.

ISG: Why not?

ME: I don’t use companies that do what you do.

ISG: Why not?

ME: Because I don’t need it.

ISG: Well, you come up at the bottom of page two on Google for a search for a DUI attorney in Fresno.

ME: Thank you. I don’t rea—

ISG: *click*

Forget the fact that I don’t market myself primarily as a DUI attorney. (Disclaimer: I do some DUIs, but only for a specialized class of clients. I think I have one DUI ad out somewhere because it came as part of a package I bought before I learned better. When the contract expires, it’s gone.)

I’m a criminal defense attorney. The two are not the same thing. For one thing, under the law most of my clients are presumed innocent unless proven guilty. I’m not saying I never take a DUI case, but when I do, I’m pretty clear with the client about what I do and don’t do, explaining that if they want certain other things, they’ll probably want someone who does DUIs exclusively. Frankly, I try to discourage DUI calls to my office.

Equally frankly, I thought I was more than polite by not hanging up on him once I realized what he was selling. I thought I was even more polite by actually answering his questions instead of saying something like, “It doesn’t matter. Good-bye.” — and then hanging up on him. As I said, I get contacts like this almost every day.

And rudeness on the part of the ISG is as common as…well, ISGs.

You have to wonder why they think that rudeness is an acceptable response to being told that the person they’ve just tried to pitch is not interested. I get the proximate cause of their rudeness: they know they’ve already “lost” that sale (which they never had a chance of winning) and they figure based on what I’ve said that there’s no bridge there to worry about burning.

But are they actually planning to switch careers after getting off the phone with me and others like me?

It sure seems that way, because if not, they’d realize this type of “sales pitch” is part of what paints people who try to make their living doing that type of “work” in such a bad light.

It’s what causes people to write posts like this one.

So consider this a continuance of the politeness I attempt to show these folks most of the time when they contact me, because — as I said — I know they’re just trying to make a living: if you want to be a successful ISG, and not just a cockroach, rudeness is not exactly a surefire sales pitch.

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