It is often said that adversity builds character.
The most common sin of most salespeople is answering for the customer. It is probably the first sales skill most employees are taught. It is quite possibly the thing most frequently discussed in sales skill training sessions, sales seminars, and business strategy meetings. Yet, it remains to be the most common challenge for the average salesperson.
Although extremely frustrating, it is quite understandable. It is human nature to impress one’s opinion on others. When telling a story to friends or family, it is always being told from the individual’s perspective. Many spouses finish the sentence for each other when in conversation with others. Often, what a person views favorable or unfavorable is automatically assumed to be the viewpoint of all.
It is important to remember the old saying one man’s garbage may be another man’s treasure. Every person has a different focus, goal, desire, and perspective. Therefore, it is imperative to detach from one’s personal views when working with a customer.
From a manager’s perspective, there is nothing more frustrating than when he/she participates in a client meeting where there is genuine client enthusiasm about a product that they should have knowledge of some time ago. Obviously, this is typically the result of the salesperson making an assumption or determination for their client – a clear violation of this most critical and basic sales skill.
The most successful business people make no assumptions. They are better listeners than speakers. They pose the question rather than a point in a specific direction. They offer many alternatives, allowing the customer to narrow the focus and work collectively with them to achieve a goal that is mutually beneficial.
If you are not achieving your productivity goals, you should ask yourself the most fundamental question; Am I Answering for the Customer?
Husband, father, coffee connoisseur and lover of all things hockey. At 51 I sometimes wonder have I done enough. I have been married to my best friend for 30 years. She knows all my faults and loves me anyway, As a father of “almost always” perfect boys, I am always surprised at what life has to offer. It is messy, scary, thrilling, and always fun.