The other day I was in a one of those instant Oil change service stations. My car simply needed an oil change, but the service guy chose to ignore me. He rattled off the list of things my car needed (after careful diagnostics of course) and as I went to say “no thank you” he quickly shifted gears and told me about how I could save a bunch of money with the discount specials they were running. I told him I can’t afford to save anymore money and to tell you the truth I am not sure he even understood what I just said. In fact, after a lengthy “instant” oil change he said “call this number and tell us how we are doing…..you could win $5,000. ” Unfortunately this type of sales behavior is not limited to rapid oil change places. It also is takes place in B2B professional sales.
As a sales person myself I completely understand the pressures and accountability that come with the job. Pressures like keeping a full pipeline, meeting weekly, monthly or quarterly numbers and creating cross-sell / up-sell opportunities have taken their toll on the prospect/client. Things like having a valuable conversation between two people, taking the time to get to know each other and establishing trust have been pushed aside. Its become so bad that when I call on a prospect and genuinely say “sounds like you guys are doing great in that area….probably not a strong need right at the moment for our services” they think it’s a sales setup question. Having a good genuine business conversation to determine value has become just plain difficult. We sales guys have created this monster and reinforce it with our behaviors driven by a need to fulfill the sales goals back at the office. Conversations suffer and so does further sales potential.
Instead…take a step back, remember that there is another business person in front of you with their own goals and objectives. Listen to them, ask questions, share your thoughts and perspectives and enjoy the conversation. You may learn a lot about the person, the business and where there is mutual opportunity. In a fast paced business world this is hard to do, but find a way to forget about the sales challenges back at the office and take the time to enjoy the conversation…it may just lead you to a more profitable and long-term sales relationship.