How Not to Sell Andrew Security Products

Tis the season I guess. To add to Andy Willingham’s recent posts (part 1 / part 2) entitled How to NOT sell me security products, I too have experienced one of the worst sales calls I have ever been on the receiving end of.

Today, an unnamed security vendor, decided to call me and discuss their offering. After the initial pleasantries and introductions, it went kind of like this:

[Vendor]: Let me explain what Single Sign-On is…(clipped because we all know what it is)

[Me]: Umm…ok.

[Vendor]: Do you follow me?

[Me]: Yeah I think I get it. (SIDEBAR – little did he know that I was the ‘expert’ on a SANS Webcast in September 2007 entitled Separated at Birth – Identity and Access Reunited! with Stuart Rauch, Director of Product Marketing, Authentication, at Secure Computing. – I’m familiar with the concept of SSO 😛)

He then proceeded to talk to me about the solution and I explained that I had to test the product but, when I signed up for the evaluation download, I never did hear back from them.

[Vendor]: That’s strange. I’ll send you a spreadsheet and, if you fill it out completely and send it back to me, I’ll be sure to get you the software.

[Me]: Great.

[Vendor]: Did you get it yet?

[Me]: Not yet. Oh wait, here it is in my junk folder.

[Vendor]: I bet I know what happened. When you signed up on the site for the evaluation download the email they sent you probably went to your junk mail folder.

[Me]: I guess that’s possible. (SIDEBAR – WRONG! This wasn’t what happened. They never sent me any email.)

He then walked me through the spreadsheet.

[Vendor]: Where it says name, fill out your name. Where it says address, put in your address.

[Me]: OK. (SIDEBAR – yes, he really clarified this for me…sigh….)

[Vendor]: And where it says phone number…

[Me]: My phone number…right?

[Vendor]: You got it. Now you need to be very careful about filling out this form.

[Me]: OK.

[Vendor]: Andrew…in the United States encryption is considered a weapon.

[Me]: Oh…ok. (SIDEBAR – HAHAHAHAAHA…yes…he said this too!)

[Vendor]: So you have to be really careful about filling out the evaluation form as we’ll have to do a full background check of your company.

[Me]: Ummm…alright. I’ll fill out the form and send it back to you.

[Vendor]: You know, I’d like you to fill out the form, and I’ll be happy to set you up with an evaluation of our product, but I want you to first talk to your CIO and let him know that our solution has been deployed by (big flagship company #1) to xxxx systems and (big flagship company #2 which is in the financial sector) to xxxx systems.

[Me]: That’s good.

[Vendor]: And since we offer a 30 day money back guarantee you don’t even need to buy it now. You should really just buy it and if you don’t like it return it. I don’t want you to waste you time trying it out because it’s so easy to deploy and I know you’ll love it. I’ll contact your local vendor when we get off the phone and get you a quote for Friday.

[Me]: I have heard that it’s easy to deploy but it’s my job to perform some due diligence and test the proposed solution. We don’t just blindly jump into a product without testing.

[Vendor]: Oh, I understand…but.

[Me]: And I used to be a product manager for a security company so I know where your coming from on this. I still have to test it.

[Vendor]: Oh, OK. Well if you can get that evaluation form back to me then we can get you your demo software and I’ll still get you that quote.

[Me]: Fantastic. Thanks for all your help.

The moral of the story. Don’t try to strong arm a sale while talking to Andrew. He knows that it’s a quarter-by-quarter world for sales guys. He knows that you’re only trying to do your job. Unfortunately, he’s got rules to follow so please, don’t try to influence the way he does his job.


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