Frustrated Customer Service Agent

The average SMB (Small and Midsize Business) gets 17 sales calls per month.  I’ve talked to some that say they get that many every week.  So there’s no doubt they feel overwhelmed, why they don’t take our calls or respond to our emails, and why they may not believe what we’re selling.  As one business owner said to me:  “You all say the same thing.  How do I know who to believe?”

They’re trying to run a business and their time is precious.  The last thing they want to do is spend an hour filling out your Customer Needs Analysis questionnaire and “teaching” you about their business.  They expect us to know their business and have solutions to their problems.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say CNA’s are dead.  It used to be that was the way to learn about the business and come up with great solutions.  Now, it just makes you one of the pack – and an annoying one at that.  If you want my business, learn about my business, and don’t waste my time!


A better approach these days is to go on-line and research a business.  Drop by and observe their business.  Talk to your friends in the industry.  Maybe fill out the CNA yourself.  At least that way, when you do finally get an appointment, you can summarize your findings and ask if they’re correct.  At least show some interest in what they’re doing before you go talk to them.

Reading through the latest SMB survey from Gordon Borrell, it’s apparent there’s a large (and growing) frustration on behalf of local businesses when it comes to advertising options.


Here are just a few of the comments that are showing up in their survey and should be a lesson to anyone selling digital advertising.

“Do your research BEFORE you call us! I don’t have time to explain the dental industry or our small town to you.”

“Don’t try and be everything. I don’t trust a radio station to provide online marketing just like I wouldn’t trust a print company to make a video.”

“Learn about the business before reaching out to me. It seems like I receive the same opening pitch from everyone even though they have no idea what we’re currently doing and how successful it has been.”

“Don’t tell me how many people read or view the ad or use your media. Tell me how many or what percentage of readers/viewers become new or better customers.”

“Don’t try to push what doesn’t work for a customer. Online advertising hasn’t worked for our organization and I don’t think that will change, but everyone keeps trying to push us to put money towards ads online.”

“Know your stuff! Please do NOT sell digital/mobile products that you do now know inside and out. We had very negative experience with <omitted> when they tried to sell digital advertising sold by print reps who did not understand the products.”

I don’t always agree with what Borrell is selling, but I’m with him on this one.  If you want to see more of the survey, visit: