Don’t Ever try to “Sell” to me…
A few months ago I was in a rare bad mood. It coincided exactly with a cold call from “Richard”, a logistics “expert”, who within the first 30 seconds of the call claimed he could definitely save one of the businesses I am involved with tens of thousands of dollars in annual costs.
The problem was I didn’t know Richard and he had never set foot inside our business. The first question I asked him was how much our annual logistics cost was. He didn’t know. Then I asked whether he could guarantee the $ savings he quoted prior to us wasting any more time on this call. He blustered and crowed and ended up pleading for a 10 minute meeting with me. I gave him my email address and told him to send me a note guaranteeing the saving and then we could meet.
I hate being “sold” to and I can spot a phony a mile off. I doubt I’m alone with this view. Like most people I’m happy to buy what I want without the need to be “convinced” or “pitched” to. All that’s needed is for sales people is to keep asking questions to undercover my underlying need and then provide relevant information to help the purchase decision to be made. The good ones understand this precisely and do it. The great ones go one step further and introduce subtle emotional calls to action (urgency, special offers etc.) as part of the way they provide the information I ask for.
The worst sales people do the opposite. They don’t listen. They don’t ask questions. They feign interest in helping you. They come pre-armed with their “pitch” and they intend to deliver it whether you want to hear it or not. It’s an impersonal, formulaic, ancient method that no longer works.
What is forgotten in this approach is that your customers don’t really care how YOU feel or what YOU want to achieve. Why would they? All they care about is how you make them feel and whether they can trust you to help them achieve what they need. Treat them like a number and you’ll piss them off. There’s nothing surer. Come armed with an attitude that genuinely says “I’m here to try and improve your day” and you’re off to a flying start.
If every interaction you have with a customer (or potential customer) leaves them feeling slightly happier or less stressed or more confident or more in control then that’s enough. Business is a long game and it’s a better strategy to aim for small incremental improvements (for your customers) every time you interact with them rather than going for one big “bang” that you have no hope of repeating.
And finally, if a logistics “expert” named Richard ever cold calls you let him know that the Bull is still waiting patiently for his email…
Featured Image by Paul Robson