NEWS FLASH – not everyone needs your product. No, I’m serious. Â There are people out here – nice, normal, good people – who don’t need what you are selling. Â Honest.
I tell you that because I have had two encounters with sales people recently where they were shocked that I didn’t think their product fit my client’s needs. Of course this wasn’t followed up with clearly articulated, well thought out reasons it should be a fit. It was a fit because “everyone else uses it” or the sales rep was sure it was a fit. Â Well, my clients are unique so they don’t do what “everyone” else does just to follow the pack. Â And I’m really happy that the sales reps have the gift of fortune telling but I’ve never really bought it.
Okay, so enough rant. The point is, you need to ask smart questions to figure out if the client is a good fit. Â And if they aren’t, be able to walk away. Or even classier, give them a different option before walking away. Â I promise they will remember you and recommend you to someone that is a good fit. Â But, the standard questions you learned when you started your sales career aren’t going to cut it.
You’ve heard this before, but clearly there are some people out there who haven’t. First, if someone agrees to meet, check out WHAT THEY DO. Read their website. It doesn’t take that long to get a sense of what a person finds important from their site. Â That way, you can talk intelligently about their business rather than start with the, “so what do you do?”. Â I’ll tell you right now, start a sales meeting with me that way and we aren’t getting anywhere. I’m busy – I put information out in the world so people can find out what I do. Â Ask me something that shows you put a little time in and I’ll be right there with you.
Bring the materials and pricing you are going to give me. Don’t show me a bunch of stuff and take it away. That’s annoying! If you need to show me stuff that you can’t leave with me, give me stuff you will leave with me first. Â It seems silly but if I can take notes on your materials, guess what is going in the file?
Recognize that there are situations your product doesn’t fit. Â I just can’t stress this enough. Â When the sales rep at Groupon said, “it sounds like this may not be a fit for this particular customer”, I was much more inclined to hear about situations where it does work. Â Even with the bad press and problems Groupon has had, I was more willing to spend time on it when he realized the person we were discussing wasn’t going to work out. Â But, the guy was smart enough to think I might have another use for it. And so I have a Groupon folder and information in case I find a reason to use it. Â If he hadn’t said that and kept pushing, I wouldn’t have bothered keeping anything.
And let me say it another way – you don’t want EVERYONE as your client. That would be annoying. Â That means you’d have the fun-easy-to-work-with-great clients as well as the Â please-don’t-ever-make-me-take-their-call clients. Instead, let’s figure out what makes those great clients great and get more of those! Do you have any idea how much fun a day can be where everyone you talk to you enjoy? Truly amazing!
So know that it is okay to not fit. Â Be confident that the right prospects are out there and you will find them. Â Look at your current customers to be sure you understand why they are happy and get more of them. Â And stop making deer-in-headlights faces at me because I told you no!