This sales prospecting technique is unethical, devious, and underhand. It is used by some people as a way to trick their competitors into giving them the details of their best sales prospects and customers. I do not recommend you use these sales prospecting techniques, but I give you this information so that you can protect your sales teams, and yourself, from others that would try and use this scam successfully on you. If you want to know more read how it works.
You may think that you would never be tricked into giving your competitors details of your best sales prospects and customers. But as a sales manager I have seen this prospecting technique used successfully on very experienced sales professionals, so don’t get caught. The key to how these prospecting techniques work is the way they motivate you to want to give valuable information on your sales prospects.
When you receive these calls you have no idea about their true intent and happily give away all your sales secrets. The trick doesn’t click throughout the call, and it’s only after that you may have some doubts about the caller. Then you dismiss the idea, and you don’t tell anyone, because you don’t want appear foolish or gullible.
How it works
The sales person receives a call from a head hunter that wants to recruit a top sales person for a major competitor. They tell the listener about the great job they are recruiting for, good salary, terrific benefits, and you want to know more. The conversation goes well and the sales person thinks they are in with a chance of being interviewed for this fantastic opportunity.
The head hunter wants more information about them, what they do and how they do it. Then they raise a negative about the level of customers and prospects the sales person has experience of selling to. Suddenly they are not sure if they are the right person to recommend to their client and put forward for the job.
The sales person is now fully motivated and wants to know more about how they can be interviewed for the job. This is when the person claiming to be a head hunter gives them a chance to redeem the situation and the sales person falls for the prospecting scam. They are asked about the top prospects they are dealing with, or their most valuable customers. They are asked to prove they sell to high value customers.
The head hunter wants to know more and the career hungry sales person is only too pleased to give away all their sales secrets. They give company details and buyer’s names. Then they reveal more information about how they are approaching the sale, and even what prices they are tendering. The caller now has priceless information about prospects, customers, prices, and actions taken with buyers. Their call to you is a lot easier than door knocking and cold calling to get prospect information. And the sales person is left waiting for a follow up call from a head hunter that doesn’t exist.
Protect yourself and be wary of this prospecting technique
This sales prospecting technique is wrong. Using this is devious and unprofessional, and I do not recommend you use this yourself. If you feel motivated by a caller claiming to give you some kind of benefit and then asking you for details of your sales prospects, take a breath and let your common sense click in. If you are at all suspicious tell them you want more information about them and try to arrange to meet with them. Genuine recruiters will appreciate how you guard your sales information and actually see it as a positive attribute.
By Devin Mason