In my first job [Software Sales], I had a very knowledgeable colleague who was too good at opening doors in accounts. Customers were interested in listening to him. The way he spoke or presented a solution or an approach to a solution was very interesting. You would want to listen. You would even start developing an interest to write code and create an application. Suddenly, everything would be possible. You would feel as if you were on top of the world.
But sales never happened. At least not to the extent the groundwork was done.
It’s like a movie that keeps building the suspense, taking the audience beautifully through spine-chilling encounters and finally delivering a climax that doesn’t live up to the standards.
If you take a closer look, you will understand the reasons for poor sales. Before letting you know that, let me tell you a story within the story.
I happened to make a joint call with this knowledgeable colleague once. The customer was ready to buy. There were two components. One was product [I was in charge of selling Products] & the other was consulting [you guessed it, that was his baby].
It was I who drove the entire conversation during the call. It was my account. This was a discovery call but it moved to close during the call itself. I normally match the speed of the customer. And following the process to a T was not something I was so strict about. That’s true even today. If the customer is ready to place the order, I will take it.
I never tell them that I should do prospecting and only if they qualify will I accept them as a prospect etc. I am not so stupid.
Many a time, I submitted proposals and lost them too, since I didn’t do prospecting properly. Those were mistakes. But I don’t generalize anything. Each customer is different. Every sales situation is different. You have to treat them as if you are facing it for the first time.
Coming back to the story, my knowledgeable colleague had limited skills in closing orders. I realized that during that call.
We discussed the price. The customer negotiated. Finally, he was ready to place the order. I didn’t discuss payment terms. The customer said they will pay 100% on delivery. I agreed immediately. I wanted the order at any cost. There were situations where I had demanded 100% advance and got it as well. This customer was different. The product we tried selling was different. The customer could get the same product from a competitor. We didn’t have any green coloured horns to show.
My colleague demanded 100% advance after I agreed to 100% on delivery for the entire order. Now the customer looked at me and he lost confidence in dealing with us. He said that they could not give 100% advance and he got up from his seat signaling symbolically that we too should get up and leave.
The meeting ended abruptly.
We lost the order.
I called the customer back the next day and told him that our reseller would do this transaction. And told him that he could pay 100% on delivery. The consulting part of the order also would be done by them, I told him. Prior to this call, I gave this lead to one of our resellers who had a tech team, to deliver.
Our reseller closed the order at the same price quoted by me for the product. The reseller quoted a lesser price for the consulting portion. They delivered as promised. Got the payment on delivery. The customer was happy.
I got my product order from our reseller. The reseller was happy and he thanked me for the order.
- Each sales situation is different. Handle it with the care & attention it requires.
- Expectations & priorities differ from customer to customer.
- One size does not fit all.
- Be sensitive to the special needs of your customer.
- Respect your customer even if you don’t want to do business with them.
- Don’t follow your process when it’s not helping anyone.
- Even if you want to say no to a customer, buy some time, at least a day’s time.
- Respect your customer’s organizational policies & principles.
- Leave your ego outside the door.
- Learn to look at the long-term relationship with the customer.
#b2bsales #happyselling #customerexperience #kkrocks