by Alex Araneta
Many Sales Manager has had to play the bad cop to a customer or potential client for the simple reason that their salespeople overcommitted. It could be in the form of giving discounts beyond what is acceptable or assuring immediate delivery in spite of the company’s delivery leadtimes to overpromising the benefits their product or service can do. These happens all too often because salespeople are pressured to deliver results after the honeymoon is over and for obvious reasons they enjoyed their honeymoon too much that they have nothing on their sales pipeline which greatly contributes now to their desperation for a sale.
Let’s face it, every customer wants the best of what they want to buy from price to quality to delivery to after-sales service. And every salesperson also desires of having the ideal customer who asks a few questions and is willing to pay for your product or service at your price. Unfortunately in the real world this rarely happens if at all even.
This is why salespeople need to master the art of asking good questions so they may determine what the real need of their customer is. There must be a compelling reason for the customer to want to buy your product or service and if you are able to discover this then it will make it easier for you to be able to say “NO” to the other things that they may ask from you.
I remember when I used to work for a flooring company, my customer was insistent on having a particular flooring at a significantly-discounted price for a medium-cost residential project they were doing. The flooring the customer wanted was one of our premium lines and so no amount of discount would meet the client’s price objective. After some questioning I discovered that the client liked the look of our flooring and nothing more. The fact that it was our premium product with all the bells and whistles didn’t matter to him. He just wanted the look so I told him two things: NO, I cannot give him the same product he wants because we can’t meet his price offer but YES we have a product that could meet his expectations. Then I asked the customer that if this offer was good for him would he agree to purchase the product and once he said yes then I knew we could get his business.
So ask good questions to your customers so you get to identify what the real need and desire of your customer is. Once you know that, make sure the customer agrees with you so that both of you understand that what you are offering satisfies the customer’s real need. Then you can be confident to say “NO” to the customer because you are confident in having met his real needs.
by Alex Araneta