I was recently asked to review a product for a business owner I had met through a client. We both did work for the client and this supplier’s credentials and work were good. I offered to help because I thought highly of my client.
Don’t argue with a customer
I listened to the description of the product and what it could do for my customers. I was intrigued. It was a marketing tool to get past gatekeepers and shorten the sales cycle. This was an electronic product and the owner/salesman sent a copy to me.
When I used the product it didn’t deliver. It’s never a good idea to have a demonstration that fails in a presentation. This one did. I gave feedback about the deficiencies I saw. That’s when the salesman started to argue with me.
You probably understand on a conscious level that arguing with a customer is a bad idea. Who would argue with a customer? It’s harder to implement than it sounds.
When your emotions take over it’s easy to lose control—as this salesman did. Instead, before the meeting, this salesman should have been prepared for any outcome, positive or negative, and responded with a simple, “tell me more” instead of the hostile comments.
Don’t become a pushy salesman.
You have to pay extra attention to control your behavior when disagreements exist. In this case the salesman’s voice got louder and he started talking faster. Those are assertive behaviors. Most people respond negatively to them especially during a discussion where there is a difference of opinion.
One way he could have addressed my concerns, would be to say in a neutral volume voice, “What if I were to modify this? How would that address your concerns?”
He had another option if he couldn’t address my concerns at that meeting. Instead of trying to push his way into the sale, he should have gathered my comments, decided he had more work to do and then gotten back later to address those concerns.
Don’t make phony statements.
He said in a forceful monotone when I gave him my critiques, “I’m trying to help you understand this.” Really? I understand. Your product creates more doubts and doesn’t live up to the promises you made.
I think you don’t understand that your product isn’t what you think it is.
What he did is like when you choose not to return to see a doctor with a poor bedside manner. The doctor’s office sends an email asking you to give him an update on your health because ‘He wants you to have the healthiest life.’ Sure he does. He wants your money more. The time to start building your credibility, not continue to lose it, is when customers aren’t supporting you.
Watch what you promise. Be sure to deliver. Monitor your emotions. Build your credibility. Each action is a part of successful selling. Each action can also be your undoing, too.