Slow Down for Speed Bumps
Not all sales interactions run smoothly—even the best salespeople occasionally hit a bump in the road. Here are the six most common mistakes salespeople make and tips for overcoming them:
1. Fearing the customer’s reaction. Instead of anticipating what a customer might say, think of it as an opportunity to find out what the customer really wants. For example, salespeople dread hearing, “Your price is too high.” It’s almost a knee-jerk reaction to offer a lower price. Be proactive, and try to uncover the unique buying criteria important to the customer so the price objection never becomes an issue.
2. Taking it personally. A customer’s bad attitude doesn’t reflect on your worth as a person. When your customer brings up a problem, don’t get defensive and offer excuses. Not only will the customer be irritated by your response, but you will have failed to address the heart of the matter: how to fix your customer’s problem.
3. Rushing to judgment. Focus all of your attention on your customer and his or her needs. Embrace any information your prospect gives you, whether you believe it’s valuable or not. In the rush to cut to the chase, you’re in danger of coming across as arrogant, and your customer ends up feeling his or her input is unimportant and underappreciated. If you don’t have time to talk at length with the prospect, request an opportunity to reschedule your conversation. Otherwise, put down your briefcase, close the office door and listen to the customer for as long as he or she needs.
4. Failing to move on. How do you know when, despite your best efforts, your customer relationship is beyond saving and is therefore taking up valuable time? The customer may be demanding, even confrontational, and provides you with little to no business for all of the aggravation he or she is giving you. Sometimes, these types of customers actually cost you money because you spend so much time trying to placate them. You rationalize continued business with them, hoping to be rewarded for your loyalty—but let’s face it, there are some customers you just don’t want!