Many of our sales training clients in Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver are faced with similar challenges. One of the most frustrating is the constant turnover of Salespeople, particularly with newer employees. The revolving door of a Sales Department is a huge issue for the company, its clients and the newest hire who gets to make the phone call – “Hi, I’m your new Salesperson!”. Not being prepared for this call can easily make you feel like a fool. You are being blindsided by a client who is taking you to task for past issues that occurred before you started. Here’s the best way to handle those calls.
Is this your situation?
A few years ago, a new Salesperson we were working with at the time asked me for my advice in handling a client who had no interest in meeting with him. He had to make the introductory call informing the decision maker that he was his new Salesperson. Here was the client’s response…
“Do you know how many new Salespeople from your company have called me in the past year? You would now be #3. I’ll tell you what. When you have been on staff for six months, stop by and see me. Until then, I have no interest in training another new Salesperson.”
Ouch, that wasn’t fun
Jamie, the Salesperson, did the only thing that came to mind. He smiled, told the client that he understood, thanked him for his time and left.
When he told me about the shortest meeting he had even had with a client, has asked me two questions:
1. Did I handle that the right way or should I have done more to address his concerns?
2. What do I do now?
Character building moments
Anyone reading this post, knows that Sales is not for timid or shy people. Every one of us has character-building stories that have toughened us up. Those are moments that you reflect back on and realize the valuable lessons learned. They could not have been experienced any other way with the same impact – they just weren’t too much fun at the time.
Yes, Jamie, you handled that exactly the way you should’ve. Many new Salespeople feel that they should address the client’s concerns and attempt to convince them that this time, it’s going to be different – that you have every intention of being their Salesperson for a very long time. Imagine the look on the decision maker’s face when he or she says “That’s what the last person said.”
Understand that no matter what you say currently, it doesn’t matter. The client doesn’t trust you. Your company has little credibility at this point. He or she has already invested lost time with departed Salespeople and is sending you and your Sales Manager a message – Practice on someone else.
The next step
Shrugging your shoulders and moving on from this client is not the answer. Neither is waiting for six months to say “Guess what, I made it!” My advice to Jamie was to find another way to win the client over without violating his probation. Find a creative, humorous way to disassociate himself from the decision maker’s bad experience previously. New Salespeople have to earn the right to be noticed, let alone heard. You must past the test of credibility before even being considered.
- Deliver a handwritten card with a coffee gift card
- Attempt to connect on LinkedIn to start a relationship
- Send the decision maker online links to great articles
- Join a community group that the decision maker belongs to
- Leave the decision maker a tongue-in-cheek voice mail message on the anniversary of each month
Do something that will convince the client that you heard what they said, yet want the opportunity to prove yourself. Few people are so cold-hearted to close the door and never give you the chance to earn their respect.
The 4 Steps to Handle The “New Salesperson” Situation
1. SHUT UP and LISTEN. Fight the urge to sell yourself.
2. Make direct eye contact and nod your head to acknowledge their feelings.
3. Let the client fully vent. They need to get it all out. When finished, that’s your cue to talk.
4. Say nothing in regards to yourself. No one cares about your background, commitment, or previous employment history. Know that this has nothing to do with you and everything to do with your client. Adapt the following statements based on your personality and style.
“I understand. I don’t blame you at all for feeling this way.”
“You’re tired of Salespeople making promises that they don’t keep.”
“You don’t trust me because of your past experiences.”
“It might take a very long time for that to change.”
“Just know that when you’re ready, I will look forward to building my relationship with you based on us – not the Salespeople before me.”
“What are you comfortable doing before then?”
Why this works
You can achieve much greater success in listening versus talking. If you want to stand out from other Salespeople – stop acting like other Salespeople. Stop selling and beating your chest like a sales ape. The key to strong relationships with your clients is understanding and being able to relate to them without a personal agenda. That will get you noticed because it’s authentic and sincere.
What happened with Jamie? Jamie received an order from his frustrated client three months after his first call by having the patience and tenacity to allow his client to come around.
What do you think? I’m always interested in knowing how you feel. How do you handle dealing with these types of client situations? Use the comments section below. If you liked this post, share it on your favorite social media platform.
Thanks for reading!
Dave Warawa – PROSALESGUY
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