One of our existing accounts was moving to a new location and wanted advice and quotes on upgrades and/or new products. Nice. In an effort to build the right solution I asked one of our technicians to be on a call to clarify the client’s needs/usage. On the call the technician instantly starts telling them what they need. Not asking… but telling them what they need. No sales strategy or care for my previous conversations or budgets discussed. In fact, most of the products this technician was selling were way over what I had thought they could afford and would have never proposed. I am now very uncomfortable with the conversation and am starting to wish I hadn’t invited the technician. What happened next was such a surprise however. The customer agrees with the technician and asks to get a contract sent over. What?
Did that really just happen? There needed to be budget discussions and time frames. Presentations and proposals. The whole “sales process” was thrown out the door. Yet a sizable sale had just been closed. No hassle, quickly and efficiently.
Too much selling
This was really an eye-opener for me. I have preached “sales process” solution selling for years and for good reason. But this almost transactional selling worked fine as well. In fact the customer really didn’t want to go through the process. Two things made this work:
The customer needed to make things happen now. The move was stressful enough and these items needed to be dealt with quickly. The technician was intuitive enough to have picked up on this. Also, and a key factor, the technician had been a credible, trustworthy adviser and implementer to this client before the move. He had the relationship that I thought I needed to still build. I was obviously wrong.
“There is a time to speak and a time to listen, and sometimes people need to shut up.” -David Hope, Baron Hope of Thornes
Taking this even further
I have seen salespeople continue to present even when the customer has basically said they would buy. Somewhere in their sales training they had been brainwashed into thinking that if they didn’t complete their entire sales process task there would be pain. The pain of not getting the sale possibly and the pain of telling a manager that part of the process had not been done. They had cut corners.
While there is some merit in cutting corners possibly attributing to a loss of sale, there needs to be some leeway to what end this starts to not make sense. A sales professional needs to be able to make this decision throughout the process and act accordingly without retaliation. They need to be trained to shut up, when appropriate, and get the signature.
My take away
It’s imperative that we are savvy enough sales professionals to understand the sales process necessary for each current client or potential customer. We need to take advantage of any relationships that are already there between them and your company. Don’t let our ego get in the way of making a sale as well. And, for heaven’s sake, if we get buying signs, shut up and get the agreement out to sign.© 2006-2017 SalesBlog! | Photos courtesy of 123RF