My husband and I were discussing our workday over dinner on Friday. He shared with me an uncomfortable situation he had with an old school sales guy in his industry. My husband is a talented cabinetmaker and runs a bustling shop in Aurora.
Very often he has sales people who will stop by to try and catch him during the workday to sell trade products like lumber, sheet goods, hardware, shop supplies and tools. Most are pretty respectful of his time and like good sales people pick up on body language and mood when they enter the shop. They can tell if he’s busy working with his team figuring out a project or if he seems open to a discussion.
He’s had a few encounters with a certain sales rep who is pushy and insistent and often makes Simon feel uncomfortable with bold statements like “What can I do to have your business” as he glances around the shop with dollar signs in his eyes.
Even though my husband has told him on a number of occasions that he’s very happy and loyal to his existing supplier, this old school guy keeps pressing and pressing. You have to admire his persistence but his tactics are fruitless. My guess is that he’s barely scraping by with this kind of aggressive sales approach.
What would the conversation look like if instead he asked “What drives you nuts about our industry”? “What do you like most about working with your current vendor”? “I respect your existing vendor relationship however would you consider using us if your current vendor couldn’t pull through on an order for you”?
See how different that conversation would look and feel like? Chances are Simon would be more willing to sit down and talk rather than avoid the man like the plague!
My question to you is how comfortable do you make your prospects? Do you pick up on non-verbal cues like a rushed phone manner and ask if there’s a better time to speak? Do you arrive at a meeting and sense that the person is too distracted to meet that day and offer to reschedule? Or do you push through to make your point so you can count that sales activity for the week?
Trust and comfort are key components to great relationship marketing and sales. It is possible to earn someone’s business and woo them away from the competition. Do so with a humble and soft approach. Ditch the hard sell and awkward moments and pull information from your prospects in a non-threatening way. Build comfort and trust with genuine curiosity of what people really want and add more sales to your bottom line!