A sales training workshop in Vancouver recently centered on a specific discussion on the relationship Salespeople have with current clients while reaching out to find new ones. We came to a unanimous agreement. Buyers who treat their Supplier’s Salespeople with respect, courtesy and appreciation always get a better deal than those that don’t. If you are a buyer, Salesperson or Sales Manager, I would greatly appreciate your feedback on this in the comments section of THE PROSALESGUY BLOG.
As we know, sales is a tough business where self-discipline, great communication skills and fortitude are a daily job prerequisite. This is the primary reason why companies have such a high employee turnover rate within their sales force. As our company offers sales training across Western Canada and the US, we always hear many comments on the differing relationships Salespeople have with their buyers. There are the stories of the clients who become friends, the buyers from hell and everyone else in between.
The Essence of Survival
On my wall hangs my favorite print of all time. It’s called The Essence of Survival. The moment I saw it, I had to have it. The setting is the plains of Africa. A majestic lion with steely yellow eyes is in the forefront. A watchful gazelle stands in the background. Here’s the caption:
“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed…every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle…when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”
What that means to Salespeople
If I want to do business with you, I have to be the Salesperson who stands out from the pack, works harder than the competition and offers the best value. I have to earn and win your business.
How does that affect their relationship with buyers?
Well that really depends on the buyer, doesn’t it? Some buyers may look at it as an opportunity to take full advantage of the situation, dangle the prospect of a purchase like a carrot and push for everything they can get – show no mercy. If they make an ongoing purchase, some buyers may give their Supplier’s Salespeople the impression that they will be quick to cancel at a moment’s notice. They may think that’s just good negotiating and doing their job to get the best deal. Fair enough. Other decision makers may not go so far. While they want service, value and a great deal, they may feel that maintaining a great working relationship with their Salesperson is important to them.
There are no formal rules of engagement for buyers. They decide on how they wish to act and deal with Supplier Salespeople. On the other hand, there is a very strict code of conduct and behavior expected from Supplier Salespeople. Here’s a great example.
If a Salesperson or supplier openly lies or even withholds full disclosure to a buyer they are considered to be unscrupulous and should be held fully accountable. Rightfully so! The recent Volkswagen scandal is clear proof. Affected buyers feel ripped-off. Even non-buyers are appalled by this cover-up.
Let’s turn the table
Ask a Professional Salesperson, if they have encountered a buyer who used under-handed tactics to best negotiate a deal. Pitting competitors against each other with claims of a better deal across the street can easily be made without proof. Even asking for it has a connotation of “Are you calling me a liar?” An experienced Salesperson many years ago taught me the saying buyers can be liars. Let’s also acknowledge that these specific types of buyers are in the minority.
We all know that all decision makers expect value for their purchase. Each one of us makes buying decisions every day. Here’s what smart buyers have learned.
Decision makers who are nice people get a lot more from their Supplier’s Salespeople than jerks.
What nice buyers do and what they get in return
1. Nice buyers make it a priority to return messages and emails from Supplier Salespeople even when there’s nothing new to tell them. Salespeople are so appreciative of this that they offer nice buyers the best level of service and consultation, regardless of buying volume.
2. Nice buyers are polite and courteous. They smile, say please and thank you and apologize when warranted. They create a personable environment where the Salesperson feels that their expertise is appreciated and not just a prerequisite to doing business. This increases the personal stake and drive for Salespeople to do what it takes to get and keep customers they love. They actually want to visit these buyers more often and show their gratitude for treating them with decency and respect.
3. Nice buyers negotiate fairly to both parties. They will concede on specific points if they get the same back in return (they just won’t admit to that before the negotiation). They realize the importance of a win-win relationship and want to be seen as a reasonable client. Nice buyers build champions in their Salespeople. Many times in my Management career, I have been sold by experienced Salespeople who agree with their client’s perspective and do their best to convince me of the same.
4. Nice buyers want their Salespeople to be personally successful. They ask questions about their families, the company they work for and the bosses they report to. They give glowing reports to management and are happy to send referrals to the Salesperson. I have seen many top-producing Salespeople get a surprisingly high share of budget because of the tight bond they have with their client. In short, they attempt to get to know the real person inside the Salesperson. The reaction from the Salesperson is overwhelming loyalty to over-deliver, give more value-add to the client than required, and be vigilant to ensure their decision maker is kept happy at all times. As a Sales Trainer, I feel this is the epitome of success.
The client, the Salesperson and the company they represent all win.
The Same Applies To Management
These are also the key attributes of a great Sales Manager or any boss. Great Managers get more out of their Salespeople. It’s because they make Salespeople want to deliver, hit their sales targets and make their bosses look good.
So, here’s my question to anyone reading this…
Can you really afford to be a jerk?
What do you think? Please provide your comments below. If you liked this post, share it on your favorite social media platform. Thanks for reading!
Dave Warawa – PROSALESGUY
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