If you play a word association game with yourself and pick “salesperson” as your word, I bet you finish up with more negative connections than positive.
It’s a bit strange when no money gets made until the sale is completed but that’s also at the root of the problem.
The “pushy, say-whatever’s-necessary, out-for-what he-or-she-can-get” stereotype of a salesman comes from our experience of people trying to force their agenda onto us.
And their agenda is making money by taking our money and giving back something of spurious value.
It Doesn’t Have To Be Like That
Take the high ground and do everything you can through the lens of your customer’s best interest.
Read: The Strategy Of Preeminence (and watch the video)
But take it to the logical conclusion.
Your duty is to protect your clients – and that means doing what’s necessary.
This is not being nice for the purpose of being a soft touch who gains little respect and expects little in return.
Problem meets Solution
They have a problem and you have a solution.
That’s the basis for selling.
They gain by having the problem fixed, you gain by profiting from providing the solution.
If you don’t do whatever you can to convince them to take action and to stop the pain caused by the problem you can solve, you are doing them a disservice.
Imagine your neighbour’s house is on fire! You’ve just seen a curtain go up in flames at the front window.
Are you going to tell them and offer your fire extinguisher?
Are you going to call the Fire Brigade?
Or are you going to watch the problem get worse?
You’re going to take action and help the problem get solved.
The Old Lady Crippled With Arthritis
What about the elderly lady crippled with arthritis in her knees and barely able to shuffle… and you know a pain specialist who has worked wonders for people like her.
Are you going to tell her and give her full details of the amazing things this person has done? Would you offer to drive her to the surgery for the first consultation?
Of course you would.
It’s human nature. You see someone with a painful problem and you want to help.
Now what if that pain specialist was you.
Does that lessen your responsibility to help… just because you don’t want to be seen as pushy?
I don’t think so.
It increases your responsibility because you’re the expert and you have the power to help.
You know what can and can’t be done.
The best solution is the old lady gets help from you right now.
If you don’t do it, and your neighbours will assume that you have or you can’t do anything for her, then what’s going to happen.
There are only three possibilities:
- The old lady struggles on in pain.
- The old lady is referred to a competitor, who isn’t as a good as you or who doesn’t price as fairly or who may even be an out and out charlatan.
- The old lady is referred to someone just as good as you and who cares as much about his or her patients and clients
This example is no different than seeing your customer with a problem to fix.
Do whatever you can to make sure the customer understands there is a problem, there is a solution and they can get it from you.
You See A Potential Problem
It’s one thing seeing a clear, definite problem but what if you just see a potential problem with one of your clients.
Do you have a responsibility to alert your client?
You do if you want to be the trusted adviser and protect the best interests of your clients.
Let’s go back to the house fire example.
Imagine its not the house on fire but a bonfire in the garden.
You look out of your window and you see a burning log has fallen away from the main stack, very close to the fence which runs up to the house.
When are you going to tell your neighbours?
When the house is in flames?
When the fence is on fire and moving rapidly to the house?
When the fence starts smouldering?
Or when you spot the potential danger and you realise the possible consequences.
It’s the same with your customers – people appreciate well intentioned feedback.
You Can Even Ask Permission
If you are still queasy about appearing pushy, once you start the relationship, you can even ask permission.
“Hey Joe. I like to think I take great care of our customers. If you’re not happy about anything, please let me know immediately and I’ll get it fixed. Feedback is how I keep on top of my game and make sure I deliver on my promises.
At the same time, if I see something in your business, I’d like your permission to let you know. I may know a solution which can help and I’d like to feel comfortable suggesting it to you.”
Who is going to say No to that when you have their well-being so clearly established in your mind.
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