Whengood sales go bad… ask, don’t whine.
Wah! That’s the cry of the salesman when the firstlittle thing goes wrong.
In selling, Sales happen, or not. Thecircumstances that surround selling and making the sale are, at the very least,difficult to overcome, and are often downright degrading and discouraging. Howthe salesperson reacts and responds to situations and barriers that customersthrow-up (not to be confused with puke), will determine his or her fate both inwinning the sale, AND in a successful sales career.
The other day, I read a story from a great new book,The Death of 20th Century Selling, by Dan Seidman. It described a salesmanager and a salesperson being stood up for a sales appointment. Ithought to myself, you can look at being stood up two ways: angry oropportunistic.
The salespeople in Dan’s story were angry,grumbling, and swearing. They left the prospect a voicemail from their cellphone, thought they were disconnected, and proceeded to trash the guy. Theprospect heard the words that led to their ultimate demise. (I guess theyweren’t listening when their mothers said, If you have nothing nice to sayabout someone, say nothing.). Get the book (and listen to your mother).
Me? I look at being stood up as an opportunity and anadvantage. The prospect knows what he did, but had something else come up moreimportant than seeing a salesperson. He feels bad about it, will easilyreschedule an appointment, and when you enter for the second time, he willimmediately apologize again, and you will have the guilt upper hand andundivided attention.
So is this really a bad thing? It depends. It dependson your attitude.
How do you look at bad episodes and occurrences? How do youdeal with the barriers to a sale? And more important, how do you react andrespond to them?
Besides a no-show, what are the worst thingsthat can happen to a salesperson during a sale? What are the biggest barriers orobstacles a salesperson must overcome to earn to a sale?
Here for your whining pleasure are the other 10.5most cursed barriers to the sale, and I’ve attached a remedy or two so thatyou might be able to jump each of them. Add them to no-show and thewhine list is complete. NOTE: I refer to each situation as customer, butthe word prospect is interchangeable.. I also use the he gender, butthe she gender also applies. And also notice that some of these arevintage whines, meaning you’ve heard them before, but didn’t do anythingabout them.
1. The customer liesabout price. Use phrases like help me understand… and the marketis currently demanding… Don’t say, you’re a rotten liar, even thoughyou know they are. Persuade with your value, not your price.
2. The customer liesabout not having the money to make a purchase. Maybe they’re not the realdecision maker, and his boss said no. Your fault for not starting at the top.Maybe they’re not convinced it’s worth the dollars. Sell the valueof use and profitability of ownership. If there’s a valued need,there’s a budget.
3. The customertries to squeeze you by playing your price against the competition’s price.Don’t fall for the oldest and worst trap in the book. If you lower, thecustomer will do the same to your opponent. Squeezing your price isdefined as: eliminating your profit. Establish fair value, and sell that plusservice.
4. The customertakes advantage of your service and your services before purchasing. Anddoesn’t deliver the order. This is also known as the customer jerking youaround, and you responding like a puppy. Make an up-front arrangementthat services are provided in exchange for orders.
5. The customer asksfor too much. Emphasize what’s fair, and talk about the long termrelationship where everyone must come out a winner — not just him.
6. The customer doesnot return your call. This one is easy — your message wasn’t worth it. Novalue to it. The game of selling is about wanting to buy. The biggest non-buyingsignal in the world is an unreturned phone call.
7. The customercalls your company, acts like a jerk and nobody wants to do business with them.OUCH. The only remedy is to bring the customer to your place of business andintroduce him around. Have him bring pictures of his kids — oh, and have himalso bring an apology.
8. The customer asksfor a proposal and has no intention of doing business with you. Many (notall) times this can be avoided with better questions in the selling process.This barrier is not only a time waster, it’s also a frustration builder (see#6).
9. The customer liesabout when they need delivery (they always need it yesterday). Ask abouttiming and circumstances around delivery. Find out if there’s a fudgefactor.. Above all be truthful about when.
10. The customerleads you to believe that he or she is the decision maker when all along theyhave to ask their mommy or daddy if they can buy. Instead of asking Areyou the decision maker? ask, How does your company make financialdecisions?
10.5 Your responsesto each situation as it arises. The secret is to ask questions to get closerto the truth. By asking you develop better dialog and find out buying motives.The barrier can be overcome if the customer’s motive is uncovered and engaged.If you want to break barriers, ask three intelligent questions before you make astatement (the same rule applies for spouses and children).
Did you notice the word value everywhere? That’s becausevalue, or perceived value is the best way to beat price. Ask questions, don’tjust blah, blah, blah. Finding out why is better than puking time wornresponses. And when you find out why, you can build value.
And many of you will ask, Which one of thesebarriers is the worst?
Easy answer. The one that happens to you.
Free GitBit…Wantthe list of personal barriers? The ones that prevent the customer from buying? I’ve prepared top 10.5 list that will hurt, but help you. Just goto www.gitomer.com (register if you’re a first time visitor) and enter theword BARRIER in the GitBit box.
Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, and CustomerSatisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President ofCharlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, andconducts internet training programs on selling and customer service atwww.trainone.com. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org