“The Sales Moment; Issue #227″

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Have you ever had a customer that you could not please no matter how hard you tried? This may be one of the most frustrating moments we can have as a salesperson or business owner.frustrated businessman over white background

Merriam Webster defines irrational as not thinking clearly: not able to use reason or good judgment.

Several years ago I was advised that a particular customer was going to be impossible to please. Feeling challenged and confident I jumped in to prove them wrong.

After meeting with the customer, providing a solution and getting the order, I was confused because this customer did not display any irrational tendencies. I was diligent to every detail of the service after the sale and I maintained close communication with the customer to make sure everything went as planned and it did.

I assumed the other salespeople were wrong about this guy and my amazing sales skills had won him over. I was wrong.

Soon after the job was complete, I received a random call from my boss stating that the customer had called in an official complaint citing several issues with many aspects of his purchase and installation. I was speechless!

This customer’s reaction was entirely irrational. But, he’s still the customer, right? Aren’t we taught the customer is always right?

If you have been dealing with people for any time at all, you know that this statement is false. The customer is sometimes wrong. As salespeople, we have to make a choice.

We can choose to move on or we can continue to work with them understanding the difficulties that will come with that choice.

Here are some questions you should ask:

  • How much emotional energy and time is required to maintain a relationship with this customer?
  • Is the business this customer provides worth the costs?
  • Will the time it takes to service this customer take time away from other good customers and new business development?
  • Is there anyone else in the company that I can deal will?

We can’t always be sure what causes someone to be irrational in our eyes. It could be a power move on their part or it may simply be they are receiving pressure from a boss or someone that is not engaged in the details of the project. Regardless, we must do everything in our power to please that customer and most importantly, remain calm in the process. Then we can choose how to proceed.

Fortunately, I have only experienced a few irrational customers in the last thirty years of selling. The rest have been a joy to serve and I can live with those odds.

Have a great week!

“The Sales Moment; Issue #226″

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In today’s business climate, salespeople have more options than ever to connect with customers. How do you choose the appropriate method?Business team using their smartphones

A few short years ago, the only methods available for reaching your customers were snail mail, telephone and walking through their front door. In 2015 we can add email and texting to the list. We can even send a voice message by text and some of you could send me multiple app suggestions for communicating with each other. I am not even including social media such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

But are these methods considered professional and acceptable to your customers?

When I asked myself this question, my initial response is, it depends.

If I am contacting this person for the first time, I will always lean toward the more traditional ways of contacting them. I will send a note or information by snail mail, followed by a phone call. If that does not work, I will drop by in person.

Many of you may disagree with my traditional method but I believe that most people consider a text or direct email from someone they do not know as an intrusion of privacy. This could create a negative first impression and limit your ability to connect with this customer.

One exception to this rule would be if I was being referred to the new customer. In that case, I would get that person to send an email on my behalf.

What is appropriate after you have connected with your customer?

This is easy. I ask. I ask them what means of communication they prefer.

A new salesman called me recently to find out how to reach a customer I had worked with in the past. He said, I have called him but he won’t call me back”. I asked if he had tried texting him. He said no because he did not think that was professional. The customer responded immediately to his text because it was his preferred method of communicating.

The world is changing and so will the acceptable methods of communicating. Just remember, it is only inappropriate if it is offensive to your customer.

Share your positive and negative experiences communicating with your customers in the space below.

Have a great week!

Neal Hoffman “Mensch on a Bench” Interview

 

Neal Hoffman

Join Pierce and Steve as they interview Neal Hoffman,  former Hasbro Executive and creator of Mensch on a Bench who appeared on Shark Tank Season Six, Episode Twelve.

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You can contact Pierce and Steve or comment by going to the “About Page”.  Or Call and leave a question or audio feedback at 615-59-COACH or 615-592-6224.

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