Are You A Good Salesman, Or A Bad Salesman?

October 15th, 2021

The Worst Sales Experience That I Have Ever Had

Back in late 2014, I sent an online request to a company for information on a service that I was interested in purchasing. Little did I know that my request would lead to the worst sales experience that I’ve ever had. I’ve been involved with sales and marketing for more than two decades, and during that time, I’ve never seen a sale go as badly as this one did. My first phone call with their company salesperson – let’s call her “Regina” – went fairly well. Regina did a great job of telling me about the company and explaining the benefits of using their services. The phone call ended with me asking her to follow-up with me in a week to further discuss purchasing their service. It was all downhill from there… Unfortunately, I was unavailable to talk with Regina the day she called. As I would have expected, Regina left a voicemail, but then proceeded to call back 14 more times that day. The next few weeks were pretty much the same thing, numerous calls back-to-back on both my office phone and cell phone. I can now say that there is nothing more annoying than being on the phone with a customer and having a salesperson REPEATEDLY call you. Don’t make the same mistakes Regina did. When you’re a salesperson, there are several lessons to keep in mind that can help you be successful at your job.

Lesson #1
Keep in mind that prospective customers have dozens of tasks that they need to accomplish daily. If they don’t get back to you immediately, just leave a message and call back in a week. Now that you’ve connected with them, your job is to occasionally remind them who you are until they’re ready to talk. When we eventually reconnected, Regina was completely unprepared for our call. It started off with her explaining to me how our competitors were using her company’s services. That would have been a great way to explain the value of their business, but the companies that she named weren’t our competitors. Not only did these companies not provide 

security guard management software, they weren’t even in the security industry.
Lesson #2
Research your buyer’s industry and competitors. Understanding both will give you insight into what challenges the buyer may be facing. After I told Regina that she hadn’t actually named any of our competitors, she said that in her database, it looked like those companies were, indeed, our competition. When I asked her if she had a chance to look over our website to see what we did, she said that she hadn’t…
Lesson #3
Research your buyers to understand what it is that they actually do. With the availability of company websites and social media, you can develop a great picture of who your buyer is and what their needs might be. 

Further along in the conversation, Regina asked me if the price of the service was the reason that I wasn’t ready to buy. I explained that price wasn’t the issue, but the problem was that the services didn’t align with my current priorities. Rather than ask what those priorities were, she explained how they could spread the payments out over several months.
Lesson #4
If your prospect mentions goals, objectives, or priorities, take the opportunity to ask them what they are. Having conversations about how your services help the buyer accomplish their goals will always be more fruitful than talking about discounts, features, and/or capabilities.

After I failed to commit to buying the services based on the offer to extend payments, Regina rudely asked, “If you didn’t want to buy our services, why did you even say that you wanted to be contacted?”
Lesson #5
No matter how bad a meeting or phone call goes, NEVER lose your composure. Once Regina posed that question, I knew that it was time to get off the phone. I politely ended the conversation and let her know that when I was interested, I would give her a call.

Sales is a full contact sport that requires effort, preparation, and commitment. When you lose a sale, (as Regina did), it’s easy to blame the buyer (which she probably did). However, if you’re honest with yourself, you can identify and learn from the mistakes that you made to better develop your sales skills. Hopefully Regina learned something from our interaction.