Recently I began the song and dance with a salesman and his manager about joining their membership for marketing services. In the beginning stages, I made it crystal clear that the timing of this exchange may not be favorable, but that I was still interested in engaging in their proposal. Timing is imperative to sales success in any situation, especially when it involves expectation. In this instance, there was a definite expectation of a sale, so the power was in the timing.
A month went by and after several phone calls and high dollar pitch presentations, the appointment was set for what they would consider to be their big close. My schedule had been noted and that time slot reserved. Being a person who values time, I know there’s not much to waste. The majority of people juggle work and family; respecting other’s time is high on my list of importance. If it’s on my calendar, I hate to miss it. That particular Monday was scheduled for them to unveil their final pitch, and I planned to be present.
Your target customer has a life, make room for it
Outside of our busy work schedules, life goes on. You can’t prevent the unexpected. And, this particular Monday afternoon, my 12-month-old just so happened to be home with a fever. Glancing at the calendar I thought in my mind, “Call them and move the meeting.” But I forgot to follow through!
Being pressured and manipulated will only cause your target customer to do the opposite of what they might have initially wanted, and that is to buy from you.
After leaving work early to tend to my sick child, an unrecognized number rang on my cell, and I picked up. Holding my daughter as she cried, I profusely and sincerely apologized for not contacting them and rescheduling the appointment. As I gave them an opportunity to select another date and time, they were relentless in getting my attention that very moment. They literally pursued me like a lioness and her prey. They dove into the end of the month jargon using the “business is slow” reason for needing me to sign up that day. They kept on about it being to my advantage to decide today, so they could play with the numbers and workout a generous payment plan for me. My daughter continued to cry as I politely declined their offers, again and again and again. The call ended 20 minutes later as they agreed it wasn’t the best time for me and set an appointment for the following day.
It’s not about you
After hanging up, I began to rationalize what had just happened, and the steam began to build. I wanted to call them and tell them to go to the hottest part of Haiti and to never call me back … but come on, how professional would that be? And, how would I actually feel after?
Instead, I chose to wait until the next day. I heard years ago, before responding when agitated or angered, wait 24 hours. The waiting forces the fog to clear and the brain to reprocess. The next day when the call came through I briefly stated, “I don’t want to waste your time. I like your product and I will call you when I am ready to buy. I will not buy today.”
Ten minutes later as they rambled I said, “You are making this about you. My responsibility is to look out for the interest of my company and this is not a good business decision at this time. Call me in three months.” Then I hung up.
Let’s be on time
Turning the tables, let’s talk about the industry and not me. Let’s talk about you. In my scenario, I didn’t have a leaking water heater, frozen A/C unit, broken toilet or a faulty light fixture, but I did have a need or I wouldn’t have been in discussions with them. I needed professionals that could give me exact solutions while making the ultimate decision up to me. Never once did they present what The New Flat Rate believes to be our power statement of, “What Should We Do?”
Being pressured and manipulated will only cause your target customer to do the opposite of what they might have initially wanted, and that is to buy from you. Isn’t it true that your customers are in need of your craftsmanship, skill and heroic-problem-solving-abilities? No one is made comfortable by a forced handed approach. We have to continue to be the hero! And in this case, the hero of time. Keeping the customer’s agenda in mind will always open doors quicker than the idea that, they want our service at the exact same time we want to provide it.
Danielle Putnam is the president of The New Flat Rate and helped pioneer the company’s first of many products, the world’s first and only in-home menu selling system designed to put profit directly into the hands of plumbing, electrical and HVAC contractors. Today Danielle oversees the daily operations of The New Flat Rate and is always excited to be a part of such a progressive company that allows her to be an innovative force for our industry’s growth.