You're wondering why I'm not doing business with you. Perhaps you think I wasn't ``serious,'' or was just another ``tire kicker.'' Well, I am serious, and I am going to buy-but not from you. I want you to know why you left me cold and why I'm not taking your phone calls. Your message was clear. It helped me decide not to do business with you. ``What's the message?'' you ask. It's simple: You're sales-driven, not customer-driven.
This may sound confusing, like double-talk. Doesn't every business aspire to be as completely sales-driven as possible?
Frankly, I expect a lot more from a salesperson today. So do all serious customers. And don't blame the commission system. The problem isn't in the way you're paid. It's your underlying attitude toward the customer. Let me explain.
You pushed until you could get in front of me. It may seem that that's your job to get in front of the customer. In some ways it is. And if you can get through my front door, you have the chance to make a sale.
But look at it from my viewpoint. What have you done to motivate me to meet with you? You tried to get my attention by telling me you were going to ``save me money'' and ``give me a competitive advantage.'' But those incentives are inappropriate and insufficient motivations until a customer is ready and wants to buy.
You're having trouble getting appointments because you are failing to motivate the customer to see you. Why should we spend time with you? What do you offer that I can't get elsewhere? (Don't bother with the ``superior service'' line either. I hear it a dozen times a day.)
If you do get through the door, you're faced with a killer challenge: you must cut the price below everyone else to get the order. You may get an order, but you do not have a customer.
You're not really interested in me and what I want to accomplish. The minute you walked through my door, I could tell you were a salesperson with a mission. You didn't see me as a customer who'll be doing business with you over the next 10 years. You didn't think about what you could do for me. You saw me strictly as a buyer-someone to sign the order.
You asked a couple of key questions. Sprinkled in between were these: Are you the one who will make the decision? How soon do you plan to buy?
These questions showed it was your agenda we were following, not mine. When you asked them, all trust disappeared. I knew I'd never do business with you.
You'll move on as soon as I sign the order. You should know we stay with our vendors for years. We've continued doing business with several since we opened our doors. Others, like you, only want to get the order and go on your way. You see your task as getting the order signed, not trying to build a relationship with us.
Your talent is figuring out what I will buy. You have taken all the popular classes on how to ``psych out'' prospects. You've learned how to look confident and composed. You concentrate on trying to locate my ``hot buttons'' and then focus your attention on pushing them.
You've learned the art of manipulation, of moving customers to your agenda. You're good at what you do. Unfortunately, this makes you the wrong salesperson for me. I need someone I can count on to assist me with my business. I need a person I can trust. You have the wrong skills.
You think sales-driven is where it's at. It isn't. You're out of sync and don't know it. I can hear you at your sales meeting, complaining you are missing what every salesperson needs-good leads. But a good lead is someone who is ready to do business and wants to buy from you. Good leads are cultivated by spending time understanding customers, communicating your capabilities and continuously educating them.
What does all this mean in the context of making more sales? If you try to control the selling process you lose. Sales-driven doesn't work. Although it is difficult to give up control-including control of the buying agenda-truly successful sales people have the confidence to hand the reins over to the customer.
I sincerely hope you come to know the excitement of being regarded as an expert in your field, someone a customer wants to know and see.