How not to get a sale, a lesson from ADT

on Aug 13 in business, marketing posted by

So I get a sales call on a Friday afternoon from ADT, the security company. I used to do telesales, so I like to give these guys a break and hear them out.

So, lucky me: I am one of ten folks in my area and ADT has a special deal for me. A free wireless alarm system for my home and all I need to do is pay the monthly fee. We just have a few questions they say. Okay, I say shoot.

“First, do you have an existing system?” asks the rep.

“Well, considering this call came from a private number in Rhode Island, why should I tell you that?” I respond.

“Well, we’re ADT, one of the biggest domestic security companies.”

Thinking to myself, what a great way to case a joint, call the homeowner and ask if they have a security system!

“How do I know you are who you say you are?” I ask.

“We don’t make a lot of outbound calls, so you just have to take our word for it,” she says.


“Okay, let’s say I may or may not have a system, what other questions do you have?”

“How many doors to the outside do you have?” the rep asks.

“I’m sorry, I’m not prepared to divulge that information over the phone to a stranger,” I say.

“Well, if not, we can’t get the information we need to go ahead.”

“Okay, so tell your sales manager you lost a prospect because you asked questions I was not prepared to answer,” I said.

“Okay, well if you ever need ADT, yada, yada.”

So what’s wrong with that picture? First and foremost ADT, you are a security company. Your #1 asset is trust. 

Why would you start a cold sales call asking questions a prospect is uncomfortable answering? Second, if it’s a free system, etc. why do they want to know how many doors I have, etc.? Just send a rep around to count them! Duh. It’s basic sales: build trust, develop a relationship. That’s how to get a sale, not just rely on the fact that someone may have heard of your company.

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