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The Desperation in Sales “Make a Customer Not a Sale”

Sales are essential in many industries for growth and survival. It is often a key driver in most strategic initiatives and the role of sales becomes vital in reaching targets. In this desperation to meet targets salespeople often forget the lifetime customer value of making a customer versus making a sale. I recently had an experience where I was procuring services for training and assisting in operational strategy changes I was working on within my role. In narrowing down to three possibilities exploring further and selecting a solution provider we needed to make two difficult calls to tell people we went a different direction. The person we chose seemed mature and had told us whoever you choose of the three it is not a bad decision. The choice came down to price, experience and general perception of the fit with our organization. People were happy with the choice and it was a great fit that helped our culture and fundamentally changed how our department worked.

The two other conversations were very different in letting the other service providers down. The first one went well the individual thanked us for considering him and left the door open if we need anything to keep in touch and he had other services and a great attitude where I felt he could be a fit and we could work with him in the future. The next call went very differently as I got to the point that we had gone a different direction and the response I got was abrupt, desperate and close to disrespectful. The gentleman on the phone then went on to discredit his competition, while promoting his organization and brand and questioning our competency. Originally this organization in earlier calls had put down there competitors but had clearly shown their competitive advantage but at the same time gone way over our budget constraints for our full solution and put us in a situation when scoring procurement that we would be forced not to select them. The sales process with the third vendor seemed to be ok until they got desperate as we had made a decision they continued to push and question our competency in the selection. What the vendor did not know is we wanted to use them possibly for online training in the future but the desperation to make a sale changed our relationship and my perception of the company itself (reputation and brand).

The customer being at the center of the sales process is important in capturing the lifetime value of a customer. Even when a lead or a customer further in the funnel rejects you it is important to understand that there is a possibility to re-engage with the correct offering and desperation usually makes a customer step away. In some of my sales training in insight selling and other sales methodologies to getting a customer to a full solution a process or framework if often followed even when dealing with rejection. Just as many buyers buy from emotion, sellers can get into the same situation and react to emotion as well. In my experience seasoned sellers tend to follow a framework (often loosely), have high EQ and can read situations and people but foremost understand to be customer-centric no matter at what position they are in there sale. In doing so sales personnel help build a brand and reputation that becomes a valuable tool for large impact in future opportunities. Keep the conversation going and create a customer by evaluating where you can provide the customer value and provide the solution.

A great resource for common sales objections and handling is below:

https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/handling-common-sales-objections

Fahim Moledina is the Principal Consultant for Opti-Syn Strategic Consulting and is a business leader with expertise in project/change management, finance, lean/agile methods, as well as marketing and sales.

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