Some time ago I wrote a piece on another site about the process of a face-to-face sales call from the perspective of the would-be buyer, detailing the aspects that they should ensure were adequately covered before they even so much as considered doing business with the other party.
Firstly, I mentioned that the salesperson should make an effort to prepare for the visit beforehand and learn something about the prospect’s business.
Let’s face it, that’s not difficult these days. Fifteen minutes on Google and you’d possibly have almost too much information.
Put simply, if you want somebody’s business it’s only reasonable in my opinion that you show some interest over and beyond how to get your car park ticket validated.
Only a couple of days ago I heard the tale of how a well-qualified and able interviewee was awarded the job purely on the basis that when asked why she wanted to work for the company she replied “because I’ve checked you out and I’ve seen that you’re cash-rich, so I know that as long as I apply myself I could have a long and prosperous future here”
By making it known that she’d done her homework she demonstrated that she was willing to go the extra mile. A mile that her fellow interviewees hadn’t.
But sadly it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that I received some feedback on the aforementioned piece that went along the lines of “any business that is busy dealing with ‘real’ customers doesn’t have time to research before an initial sales meeting”.
My heart sank.
Seriously … it ‘doesn’t have time’???
Nobody is expecting for any trees to be dug up, for goodness sake … Just a bit of background work.
When I hear this type of response I’m immediately reminded of those annoying recorded messages that chirp “sorry we can’t take your call right now; we’re busy helping other customers”.
OK then! Maybe I need to go and find a company that isn’t ‘too busy’ to take my call …
If you’re sensing that this attitude gets my goat, you’d be right.
If I were a prospect asking the question “what do you know about my business?” and the answer came back “nothing; we don’t have time to look into that because we’re too busy. That’s how awesomely successful we are” I’d seriously be considering asking them to drink their coffee and leave.
Have we really become that arrogant?
I’d like to think not, because I’m pretty sure that if we’ve got time to check our Facebook feed then we’ve got the time to prepare properly for important business meetings.
Being good at what we do really isn’t enough to clinch deals. Sadly it appears that some believe confidence and a long client list is all that’s needed, which might be enough until a competitor realises what clients really want … and that’s to be made to feel important, understood and valued.
Never once during my corporate sales days did any of my prospects turn round and ask “why on earth are you showing an interest in my business?”
None of us are so darn good that we don’t need to put the effort in. Nor are we ‘too busy’, come to that.
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