In your selling career, hopefully you will never be physically thrown out of a customer's business. I have been thrown out before. Customers can become irate for many reasons. We must make sure we are not the reason for their frustration. An old Chinese proverb states, "Never let success go to your head, and never let failure go to your heart." In other words, whatever you do, don't take it personally.
Here are 10 things we should never do when meeting with a customer. Any of these could increase your chances of landing outside on your butt.
1. Showing up late: Nothing disturbs a customer more than you being late, and the adage of "better late than never" is not applicable here.
2. ROM: Stands for "run of mouth." You have two ears and one mouth. Listen twice as much as you talk. Good rule of mouth.
3. Finishing off: You always finish the client's sentence.
4. Shifting blame: You don't take responsibility for lack of results, and you blame others for your inability to meet expectations.
5. Buying back: They are ready to buy from you, but you continue to sell your product.
6. Spouting "time and money": Using this clich when you first meet the prospects enhances disenchantment. How do you know you can save time and money before you understand their business?
7. 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.
8. Asking only closed-end questions: This technique irritates customers by never allowing them a chance to elaborate or reflect on their current business situation.
9. Trickery: Lying and manipulating people to go around the proper steps of securing a meeting or appointment.
10. Not knowing their name: The sweetest sound to your prospect's ears is their name rolling of 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. Hand-written letters are good for this. Make it short, and don't enclose product information.
You might also meet the prospect at an outside location perhaps an association to which the person belongs or a favorite after-hours hangout 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 visit to their business. Humor always defuses tension.
If all else fails, send in the higher-ups the 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.
Sean Luce is the Head International Instructor for the Luce Performance Group and can be reached at: Sean@luceperformancegroup.com.
As seen in Radio Ink Headlines August 6, 2012