Selling a product is a hard job. It’s certainly not a job I would want. Sometimes though, I think sales people make it even harder for themselves. It’s drilled into their head that they can’t let anything stand in their way of making a sale and their customers feel it.
Recently, we had a door to door salesman that really started off on the wrong foot and missed all three of the areas below. We have no soliciting signs and really don’t take kindly to those who choose to ignore them therein riling up our dogs. The other day we had just arrived home when before we could even get out of the car we had a salesman who rushed over to try and talk about roofing.
Needless to say, he wasn’t very warmly welcomed. First off, our roof is in good shape so we’re not interested. Second, we don’t buy from door to door salesman, regardless of what they’re trying to sell. Third, his approach completely put us on the defensive and slammed shut and bolted a door that was already closed to him.
I’ll admit, for some people, an aggressive sales person may win out in the end, but at what cost?
It seems like it’s the rare sales person that tries to determine whether a customer is even open to a sale. I would put several factors under being open to a sale including interest, financial and approach.
Has the customer expressed any interest whatsoever in your product? Are you assuming they’re interested? Why waste time trying to sell someone a product they have zero interest in or use for? Are you trying to sell them the wrong product based on you assumptions?
For example, say you sell backyard playground equipment. You spot a woman walking near by, you approach her and before she has a chance to say no, she’s not interested, you launch into your spiel. By the time you finish she’s flustered by your approach and frustrated by you wasting her time, especially as she doesn’t have kids.
Believe it or not, I see this sales approach happen a lot. Yes, you could argue that every person you come in contact with is a potential customer either now or in the future, but if you start off on the wrong foot with them, they will remember the less than positive experience they had with you more than your product.
Can they afford your product? Are they willing to spend what your product costs? Are they even the decision maker? Are they still narrowing down their options?
Now, I’m not saying you should pass judgment on whether or not a potential customer can afford your product based on looking at them. You’d be surprised how often you can be wrong using that as a factor. But simply asking questions to determine whether your product might be a good fit for them will give you valuable insight, especially as many customers may be able to afford to spend the amount you want, but they’re not open to doing so.
Personally, I think this is one of the most important factors. Personally, I don’t like overly push salesman. If the product is good, it will sell itself. Patronizing me won’t get you a sale. Ignoring no soliciting signs probably isn’t going to start you off on the right foot. Interupting a conversation to try and sell your product probably won’t get you far although many mall cell phone salesman seem to think otherwise.
As I said, sales is a hard job, but why make it harder for yourself by not qualifying your customers with a few questions and tailoring your approach to fit the customer and the situation?