I overheard sales dialog on the airplane this morning. “He (the customer) has never responded to one of my emails, and never calls me back. The ONLY time he calls me is when he needs something.” Then back to devouring this week’s edition of US Weekly magazine.
Why do salespeople blame other people and/or other things for their own ineptitude? Why didn’t this salesperson say, “I gotta work on my voicemails and emails. They’re not getting any traction, and they’re costing me major money. I’m going on an all-out effort to improve my writing skills, my voicemail skills, and my creativity to generate better response!”
I’ll tell you why: It’s easier to blame others for your shortcomings than it is to take responsibility for them. It’s easier to blame than admit you’re not that good. It’s easier to blame than it is to improve. It’s easier to blame than face your own reality.
And I’m certain this message applies to you.
You blame the customer when something goes wrong, something didn’t happen as planned, someone didn’t respond, or you lost a sale to a competitor – especially at a lower price. Wrong. Very wrong.
I have been helping salespeople sell more and sell better since 1976, and during the time no one has ever come to me and said, “Jeffrey, I didn’t make the sale, and it was all my fault!” Interesting statistic.
Rather than blame, I have some answers that will help you. Actually, I have some questions. Questions you MUST ask yourself BEFORE you blame. These questions will give you a brand new perspective, and they automatically shift blame to responsibility. They will bring you a new sense of reality. And they will make you a better salesperson.
Ask yourself “WHY” to get to the truth.
- Why was my call not returned?
- Why did they cancel my appointment?
- Why did they delete my email?
- Why did they not respond to my email?
- Why did they say, “Not interested”?
- Why did they say, “We’re happy with our present supplier”?
- Why can’t I set an appointment?
- Why can’t I get through to the decision maker?
- Why are they meeting with other vendors or suppliers?
- Why did they take the lowest bid?
- Why did they buy from the competition?
- Why did they tell me that my price is too high?
Why are you blaming others (especially customers) for your inability to attract, engage, connect, and create value that leads to a sale?
One of the weakest and least exposed shortcomings of salespeople is how they use time. If you’re allocating too much time to watching TV, or other nonsense activities, you’re wasting valuable career-building opportunities.
Whatever you’re doing with your non-business, non-family time, ask yourself these reality questions:
- Will this help me double my sales?
- Will this help me build better relationships?
- Will this help me become better known?
- Will this make me be perceived as a person of value?
- Will this help me build my reputation?
- Will this help me build my sales and personal development skills?
Work on these elements of your sales and business life:
- Message leaving. Are your messages in any way impacting your standing and status with the customer? Is there an ounce of value or creativity, or are you just begging for some news about the proposal you sent (and calling that a follow-up)?
- Be available. Your prospect will call you when they are free. This may be before or after business hours.
- Be easy to do business with. Customers want everything NOW!
- Leave value messages. Something short and sweet that they can use.
- Study creativity. Your competitive advantage is to be perceived as different. Read a book on creativity as a starting point.
- Be more friendly than professional. Sales is a profession, but salespeople (you) must be perceived as friendly.
- Build your business social media presence. Are you tweeting value messages? Interacting with customers one-on-one on your business Facebook page? Looking to make new connections on LinkedIn? Creating a YouTube channel with customer testimonial videos? Or are you watching the 6 o’clock news
- Use meals to build relationships. You’ll be amazed how much more available customers become once you get to know them personally. Breakfast or lunch prospects and customers at least three times a week.
SIMPLE SELF-EVIDENT FACT: If you want customer response, you have to EARN it.
Reprinted with permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer.
About the Author
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude, The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way, The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, The Little Teal Book of Trust, The Little Book of Leadership, and Social BOOM! His website, www.gitomer.com, will lead you to more information about training and seminars, or email him personally at [email protected].
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