You may have noticed that sales can be a stressful occupation. You don’t know what mood a customer might be in before you present. You might have to deal with an unfair situation. It’s unfair when the brother-in-law of the buyer sells what you sell. Yet salespeople often make their own stressful situations. Here’s what you can do to avoid making yourself crazy when you sell.
Make deadlines work for you.
One of the easiest ways to stress yourself and work harder than you have to is when you agree to customer deadlines. Your objective with deadlines is to under promise and over deliver. How do you do that? You listen closely to when a customer or prospect makes a request for a delivery or any time-based request and you respond.
Here’s what I mean. Let’s say your customer tells you he needs an order quickly. You first think that you have to jump through hoops to get that order to your customer immediately. You make the calls to the Operations Department. They move your order to the head of the line because you’ve worked well with them in the past. They have to do a few special steps to process your order quickly, but they do. Your customer gets his order quickly. He comments, “Thanks so much for that fast delivery. I got it today and I didn’t need it until next week.” Congratulations! You’ve now worked harder than you needed to get the order to your customer.
Next time, listen carefully for what I call gray words. These words are open to interpretation. Gray words are words describing broad categories. Examples of gray words are quickly, large(r), small(er), expensive, cheaper, faster, slower, more, or less. These words can mean just about anything to anyone. Your job when you hear gray words is to ask for clarification. When your customer wants something quickly you must reply, “And when do you need it?” That way you can ask if he can delay it if the date is impossible or at least know you’ve done what you could to avoid doing more unnecessary work.
Learn how to say no.
Some salespeople say yes to every request without thinking strategically. First decide whether the request is for something you’ve promised, is profitable, or will help your business in the future. Why would you agree to a request if it doesn’t meet any of those criteria?
One travel agent was asked by a prospect to provide transfers when this prospect bought a tour package from another agent. The agent told the prospect, “I normally do transfers for my clients. These do take some time, and I don’t make any money from them, but I’m happy to do them for my clients. I really don’t have the time to do them for customers who I haven’t worked with.” You give your prospect a reasonable explanation and you just might work with them the next time. That’s what this prospect did. She said, “I appreciate your honesty with me. Next time, I travel, I’ll call you.”
Your job is to set the boundaries around what you will do and most importantly what you won’t or can’t do for customers and prospects. Doing work that doesn’t get you paid is exhausting, stressful and frustrating. Don’t do it.
Make it easy to retrieve your information.
Some people just didn’t get the Marie Kondo gene—the one that keeps them organized and efficient. Ask yourself, am I able to quickly retrieve the information I need to serve my clients and myself to manage my business? If not, you now recognize you have a problem. Part of less stress selling is being able to find what you need when you need it. Now is the time to explore the CRM system that works for you if you’ve been frustrated more than once when you need information and can’t retrieve it.
What’s your desk look like? An explosion or efficient? Take time each week to clean off, throw away and maybe not save in the first place the clutter that can quickly get out of hand.
You will be making many, many decisions when you work in sales. Do make decisions that make it easier, not harder for you to sell and also preserve your sanity.