(An open letter from Salespeople the world over to clients and prospects)
As an ethical, professional, courteous sales person, there are some things I repeatedly encounter when interacting with clients and prospects that cause me some concern, and I think with a little education we can clear them up and interact on a more effective and profitable basis.
1) I’m not trying to trick you, steal from you, or talk you into something that you don’t want or need. I’m a professional, and as such, know that it’s much more productive and profitable for me to keep long-term clients than it is to turn and burn a host of one-time victims. I thrive on repeat business, and the last thing I want to do is pull a fast one on you or take advantage of you.
2) The more you tell me, the better I can help you achieve your goals. You wouldn’t lie to or withhold information from your attorney, and you shouldn’t be lying to or holding out on your accountant, so why do you feel you need to be guarded in your conversations with me? Are you afraid if I learn something I’ll use it to talk you into buying more? I’d rather solve your complete problem right the first time, so you’ll refer me to your friends.
3) I talk to people all day long for a living, often about problems similar to yours. I might have picked up a thing or two from those conversations, and that makes my knowledge more complete and recent than yours is likely to be. That knowledge deserves some respect.
4) Just because you think you can’t afford what I have to offer at the moment, doesn’t mean it’s a waste of my time to get to know you and your challenges. Take the meeting anyway, you might be surprised at what you learn, and at how I can help you no matter what your budget. Maybe not right this second, but at some point along the way.
5) The more you trust me, and the better and reciprocal our relationship becomes, the more value you derive from it. Salespeople are out on the streets all day learning and solving problems in creative ways. I know things that might be of help, at no cost to you, if you just give me a try. The risk is really minimal, and the return can be tremendous.
6) I have an ethical obligation to keep your private and corporate information to myself. I also have an ulterior motive to do so. I won’t last long if I go around blabbing client info to other clients, will I? I’m a professional, in it for the long haul, and keeping quiet serves any number of purposes.
7) You won’t hurt my feelings by calling and telling me you bought from someone else. As a professional with some experience, I’ve developed a pretty thick skin, so don’t worry about my reaction, I can assure you it will be professional and appropriate. Please have the courtesy to return follow-up calls, don’t just let them go to voicemail and ignore them, hoping I’ll get the message – it’s rude and counterproductive.
8) We can all use a hand once in a while. If I’ve done a great job, tell me so, and then tell two colleagues who can also buy from us as well. That’s the real currency salespeople live off of, referrals. It takes thirty seconds, is painless and free, and would really make my world better.
9) The reverse is also true: if I screw up, please tell me quickly so we can fix the problem, get a solution worked out, patch things up and move on. Don’t let those issues fester and then just stop returning calls for no apparent reason – it’s not healthy.
10) I’m just as anxious to solve your problem as you are to get it solved. The sooner we stop dancing and start producing, the faster we’ll both get where we’re going. I’ll be happy to answer any questions for your superiors, cover your behind, make it right, do whatever is required to protect our relationship, so stop worrying about it and start fixing it sooner rather than later.
Hope you find this helpful in our interactions in the future. I think you’ll find if you keep these things in mind, you’ll get more of what you want, at lower cost, faster, and with greater enthusiasm all around. Be the hero of your own situation, and help me help you!
If you found this enlightening and valuable in your business pursuits, be sure to sign up to receive this blog in your inbox regularly. And don’t forget to pick up a copy of “The Marketing Doctor’s Survival Notes”