Love what you hate about selling and be surprised by the results

Instead of complaining that the walk-in client only wanted a quote and won’t buy, invite him on a tour of the showroom as the quote is prepared.

I drove though three successive fuel stations seeking air for my tires and received three successive, “haifanyi” (the pressure pump isn’t working), and, therefore, three successive disappointments.

At least one of them had the sign, “Out of order” clearly displayed. Still though, at all three, the fuel attendants and the hapless askari at the pump largely ignored me.

I tend to see this mind-set aplenty at fuel stations-the tendency by fuel attendants to frown upon the client who wants to inflate his tires only. Preference is given to the one who has come to fuel; most probably it’s because he is generating income as opposed to the one inflating tires whose just adding costs by engaging staff in a non-income generating activity. Whatever the reason, however, fuel stations lose out aplenty owing to this discrimination. And it’s not just them: every job we love has a component in it we don’t. It’s just the way life is-the yin and yang I suppose.

Sales people detest doing reports; yet without them, being assisted is difficult and monitoring their own progress impossible. In fact, many who feel the burden of the job usually lack reports with which they can quantify their progress and points of weakness that can be worked on. Truly exemplary salespeople have a scientific method to the madness. They can give you their conversion ratios with detailed accuracy, for instance. Some library assistants and supermarket aisle attendants, detest being asked the location of a book or product respectively because, they argue, “can’t the customers read the signs? It clearly says there Science Fiction (or Detergents). Why are they asking me?” They may win the argument but lose the sale through lost sales from customers or prospects who feel spited by their demeanour.

Yes. Paradoxically, the component we detest is intricately weaved into the success of the job!

This realization should be exciting news and progressive salespeople know this. And so, there are those who have staffed that thing they detest: like having someone else do the proposals. This delegation however ends with responsibility not accountability. The accuracy (or lack thereof) of the proposal lays squarely with the salesperson. Others have seen the silver lining in the cloud and so they invite the walk-in client who asked for a quote to spare a few minutes to come see the products in the showroom knowing that this demonstration of interest in the prospect is an investment in the most rewarding asset-human interaction. And this gesture may be the one that tilts the balance in their favour when the decision is being made about the quote to go with.

Progressive fuel stations should train their attendants to not only look forward to inflating the tires but also invite the driver to have their oil and water checked while inflation progresses and even the windscreen cleaned. All free and waste of time you think? I don’t. Especially not where the playing field is level and differentiation must come from other avenues.

Whatever avenue is chosen it must start with the realization that there is a problem (I hate doing this), it’s a two-sided coin (in the problem is the solution) and acceptance (I must make a conscious effort and adapt progressively to it)

And in case you are wondering, the fourth fuel station had a functioning pressure pump and the attendant happily guided and me to a stop just in front of it and proceeded to inflate all the tires. Two sales happened. Not only did I tip him, I also fueled there.

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