In your selling career, hopefully, you will never be physically thrown out of a customer's business. Customers can become irate for many reasons. We must make sure we are not the reason for their frustration. When translated, an old Chinese proverb states, "Never let success go to your head, and never let failure go to your heart." Whatever you do, don't take it personally. Here are 10 things we should never do when meeting with the customer. Any of these could increase your chances of embarrassment outside on your backside.
- Showing up late: Nothing so disturbs a customer as your being late, and the adage of 'better late than never" is not applicable here.
- ROM: Stands for "run of mouth." You have two ears and one mouth. Listen twice as much as you talk.
- Finishing off: You always finish the client's sentence.
- Shifting blame: You don't take responsibility for lack of results, and you blame others for your inability to meet expectations.
- Buying back: They are ready to buy from you, but you continue to sell your property.
- Spouting "time and money": Using this cliche when you first meet the prospect enhances disenchantment. How do you know you can save time and money before you first understand their business?
- Answering your own questions: Why ask them a question if you are going to give them the answer? This shows an incredible lack of communication skills.
- Asking only closed-end questions: This technique irritates customers by never allowing them a chance to elaborate or reflect on their current business situation.
- Trickery: Lying and manipulating people to go around the proper steps of securing a meeting or appointment.
- Not knowing their name: The sweetest sound to your prospects is their name rolling off your lips. Mispronouncing or asking for them by the wrong name leaves a sour taste for you.
If you are thrown out, let a few days pass to defuse the situation. Write a letter, stating your intended purpose for the call and how you can help the prospect's business. Make the letter short, and don't enclose product information.
You might also meet the prospect at an outside location - at associations to which the person may belong or favorite after-hours hangouts - where he or she can see you in a different atmosphere.
Another possibility is to send them an e-mail with a funny cartoon that might bring to light the absurdity of your last plight inside their business. Humor always defuses tension.
If all else fails, send in the higherups - general manager or sales manager. You could be dealing with an egomaniac who feels important only by dealing with managers. Remove your ego, and find a way to get back in there. Customers always appreciate persistence as long as it's used tactfully!