How many of us have lost a deal and felt this way? You spent months working on the deal and didn’t get it. You felt like the time you poured into the negotiation should account for something, right? WRONG!
I recently was on a business trip. I was traveling with two women who also work in financial sales.
One of our group members, we will call her Mary, was knee deep in a transaction. She still needed several items from her client including a statement from his accountant and a credit card number for the bank appraisal fee. Mary thought the deal was in the bag. She was already counting her commission dollars. Thursday, Friday and Saturday she spoke to the customer reminding him repeatedly of the documents she needed; however, he was dragging his feet.
On Sunday night Mary received a call from her client. While on speakerphone, she rattled off the information she needed to submit his application. By this time, we all knew what he needed to send. The client interrupted her and said “STOP.” Now, Felicia and I knew from experience what was about to happen. Mary’s client told her he was going with another lender who already approved him.
Mary immediately went into reactive mode and her argument was this:
- She spent all of her vacation on the phone with him telling him what he needed to get approved and he failed to produce that for her.
- The other lender was lying to him by not telling him there would be additional documentation required and additional fees.
- My favorite: he was making a stupid mistake and not thinking it through.
Felicia and I were appalled at what we were hearing. I suggested she put him on hold or call him back to quantify and articulate for him the value she would bring to him. Let’s just say that suggestion was not well received.
Where did Mary go wrong? There are several things you can point out here.
- First and foremost, let’s just call this one out–-never call your customer stupid. Pause, take a deep breath, and think. Never be reactive. A highly successful sales professional is consultative and creates a strong rapport and relationship with the client based on trust. Even if you can’t turn one particular transaction around, you want your professionalism and credibility to shine through. What do we love? Referrals and repeat customers.
- She failed to listen to the customer and identify what the client truly wanted. In this case, the home buyer wanted to make sure he secured a loan. Paying cash was not an option, he simply needed a loan approval that would fit into his monthly budget. In our industry, there are times when the customer is not so concerned about the total price of the technology they are acquiring, but can create a financial solution for them that will fit it into their fiscal budget.
- She neglected to identify the value of the services she was going to be able to provide to her customer. Remember, value is defined by the client, not the seller. Identifying your customers wants and needs will help you navigate the sale and create a solution that will resonate with your buyers.
It is your job as a sales professional to educate clients, to help the customer think things through, and, when necessary, to challenge them to think differently. How we sell is far more important than the widget we may be selling. Educate your customer and share with them something they don’t know, create a solution that will work for your customer and, most importantly, control of your emotions and the sale!