Selling to “Difficult Customers”
Sales can be brutal at times, complex sales even more so as they involve wider and deeper business challenges that easily will stretch into multiple sales cycles while dealing with significantly more factors. Through all the frustration these individuals might cause it is important to remember that these customers aren’t specifically out to get you. Just like anyone else these customers want to know their time isn’t being wasted and also may not be aware that they have a challenge that you could help with.
If it is your job to contact potential buyers before getting an explicit invitation, use caution. Often times the individual you are speaking to might not be the one to make these decisions but is always the one receiving these calls. THis can make them feel isolated and targeted as sales call after sales call is directed towards them regardless of the customers actual ability to buy.
When dealing with a “difficult customer” it is important to remember that the entire sales call is about the buyer. While it is easy to make everything about us all the time; in sales putting the customer first is extremely important. Being able to answer their questions is pivotally important but most fail to answer the first question anyone who receives a sales call is asking; ‘ Why are you calling me? ‘
The answer should be provided promptly and with enough information for the customer to either confirm they are the correct party to be speaking with or to be directed to a more likely candidate. As a knowledgeable sales person you should also be aware that until you form a connection with a customer and build enough value, you are merely a distraction and one of the dozens that call a day. To avoid this it is best to avoid figures and costs before ascertaining needs.
As with everything else, the less memorable you are the easier it is to dismiss you. Sales is all about creating lasting impressions of not only you but also your product. Putting forth your best effort everyday regardless of outside forces or that “difficult” customer will ensure that you are recognized and able to crack the veneer of the “difficult” customer that so many people paint on themselves when first receiving a sales call.
If you can implement the following tips into your sales strategy it can only help as you attempt to break the ice with a new customer:
- Do your research about your customer before getting onto the phone with them. Knowing things like what the company might be struggling with, or what the industry is struggling with can help open doors and build value early on.
- Knowing exactly who you are on the phone with and what their role in the company is rather then assuming you are talking to the right buyer.
- Use a referral or an introduction anytime you can, being introduced on a friendlier level automatically disperses animosity.
- Take a subtle approach to the sale rather then using standard non customized sales techniques.
Follow these brief tips and see that any “difficult” customer is just out of reach of being a friendly chat when you remember to make it about the customer and have respected them enough to learn about who they are and what they do.