Salespeople have feelings too. If you're a buyer, company owner or CEO, I ask you – how do you treat salespeople? Would you like to know how they want to be treated?
I have talked to thousands of salespeople who talk about what they wish buyers and prospects would do (or not do). If you're a decision maker for your company, how many of the items below can you honestly (there goes that word again) say you do in your relationship with a salesperson.
Important note – This is not an article about a bunch of whiny salespeople moaning how they're being mistreated. Rather it's a series of statements about what salespeople need to build relationships with you – their customers.
If you have ever asked yourself the question, "What do salespeople want?"-
Here are the answers:
- Return my phone call – The number one gripe of salespeople, especially if you've got the dreaded voice mail. Why can't you take two minutes of your time and return someone's call. Don't you want your call returned?
- Take my call if you're in – if you screen my call, don't screen me out. The other day I called Dick Kittle, president of Associated Mailers, the largest mailing house in this area. I said, "Is Dick there?" Next thing I know, a voice says, "Dick Kittle." I said "Dick, no screen on your calls?" He said "I don't want to miss any opportunities." And I'll bet he misses damn few.
- Don't have your gatekeeper say, "Mr. Jones doesn't see anyone without an appointment." At least have the courtesy of telling Jones I'm here and giving him the choice.
- Tell me the truth. I'd rather know the truth than have you string me out, or lie about the situation. Have the guts to be truthful, you want it from me don't you?
- If you don't decide (or aren't the only decision maker), tell me and tell me who (or who else) does. Don't waste my time or yours. I like you, but I want to talk to (all) the decision makers – in person.
- Tell me how you feel while I'm presenting. If I'm doing something right or wrong, I want to know so I can help serve you better.
- Give me your undivided attention during my presentation. No phone calls or people running in and out or reading your mail. Thanks.
- Tell me your real objection. If you do, it will help us both. Your true objection will shorten the sales cycle and make us both more productive. You won't hurt my feelings – I really want to know the truth.
- Do what you say you will do. Example: If you tell me a decision will be made by Wednesday – take my call on the appointed day and tell me the answer. Example: You tell me to call you on Friday to set up a meeting. I call. Your secretary says "Oh, he's out of town and won't be back until Tuesday." Common courtesy. Do what you say. That's not too much to ask. Is it?
- Don't tell me you want to think about it. We hate that. Tell me the real objection or how you really feel. Admit it, you've already decided.
- Don't tell me it's not in the budget or you spent your budget for the year. Tell me how you feel about my product or service and if you want to buy it now, next year or never.
- If you don't have the money and you want to buy, tell me so I can help you find a way to buy. Don't let pride or ego get in the way of the selling process. Salespeople run into people without money all the time (too much of the time, actually), and we want to help.
- Don't play games. Don't say "I can get it for $500 less - will you match the price?" or "I'm going to shop around to see if your deal is the best, then I might call you back." Be straight up with me. Put your cards on the table if you want a long term relationship (like I do).
- Respect me. Often common courtesy will do more to enhance our relationship than anything (besides a big order).
- If you must meet with others to get a final decision, let me be there too. So I can answer questions about my product or service that are sure to arise.
- Be on time for our appointment. I don't want to wait. It's not fair to appoint me at ten and take me at ten thirty and say, "I'm sorry, I got tied up." I'll say, "That's OK," but it ain't what I'm thinking. Be as timely as you would want me to be.
- Show up for your appointment. Sometimes you say "Oh, it's just a salesman, what's the difference?" The difference is common courtesy, and we have to make a living too. Show me you're as dependable as you want me to be.
- Give me the sale when I ask for it. Even though this is a fantasy request, I couldn't resist putting it in a list of things salespeople want.
- Decide now. You already know the answer, why don't you just tell me?
And hey, Mr CEO who has no time for – is rude to – won't return the calls of salesmen and saleswomen, I ask you this - Do you have salespeople? Are you treating salespeople the same way you want your sales people treated in a selling situation? Think about it the next time you don't return a call.
It's amazing to me how simple the process would be if buyers just followed one rule – the Golden Rule.
The number one request from salespeople to a prospect or buyer...
Return my phone call.
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