Thanks for reading my piece on how our customers trick us and give us painful ulcers!!
They cause us to lose our cool and use the foulest of language when the boss asks if we nailed our budget…and we didnt!! (NOT TO MENTION WE LOST THE COMMISSION!!!! Man!!!)
ready for this one folks….
DIRTY TRICK #2: The Unreasonable Requirement.
- Explanation: A requirement surfaces that makes no business sense.
- Example: “We’ll need you to stop doing business with our competitors if you’re doing business with us.”
- Their Hidden Agenda: They’re planning to concede the unreasonable point and then ask you, in return, to concede a reasonable point.
- Your Strategy: Treat the unreasonable requirement as if it’s a deal-breaker.
- What YOU Say: “Since that’s not going to happen, it sounds like you’re not really interested in buying. Is that the case?”
- What Will Happen: If the customer is serious about buying, the unreasonable requirement will “magically” disappear.
- Warning: The requirement may be a proxy for some other objection that the customer is reluctant to surface.
I am sure that most of you would have heard this from your customers…just as you believe you have generated traction with the customer, some one within the organization will come up with this gem and stump you…
You believe that all your visits have finally started to make sense, and then WHAM!! out of the blue comes this beauty…
you are in no man’s land ( apparently)- you dont want to walk away , because you invested into this lead….and right now close to the month end, this looks to be the best bet for you to get to your quotas…AND you know that the client’s unreasonable demand is potentially bad for in more ways than one in the long run…
I totally understand your classic dilemma, but GUYS believe me, just walk away from it at that very moment..
take in a deep breath, look your customer in the face, and very politely but firmly, let him know that it is unreasonable and that you would rather walk away from his business, how ever lucrative it is on the face of it. Dont forget to wish the customer the very best in his search for a better vendor or service provider.
By doing this, not only would you have protected you long term business interests, but at some level , earned he clients respect as well- because if not then, but perhaps at a later date, the client will definitely revisit this episode and will certainly see merit in your decision and you will get a call then!!
This series of blogs is to do with the reality that many of us in Sales function face every day.
While we may have had the best of training, with the best of trainers and mentors and bosses, we may have been born with the sales smarts, we may even have picked up some selling acumen through sheer experience, we have to live the with reality that CUSTOMER is indeed KING ….has been, is, and always will be.
NOW…your customers/clients KNOW this reality and despite all your selling prowess, still play dirty with you, trick you and lead you up the garden path. Sadly , very often, you do fall victim to your customer’s tricks and these series are an attempt to highlight some common tricks that customer’s play with you.
DIRTY TRICK #1: The Free Consulting Request
- Explanation: A demand that you provide substantial up-front work without any commitment from them.
- Example: “We’ll consider you for the job if you write us a detailed, 50 page requirements document.”
- Their Hidden Agenda: They want the benefit of your experience and knowledge for free.
- Your Strategy: Before agreeing to do any up-front work, demand a significant concession that will help you close the business.
- What YOU Say: “We’ll be happy to work with you on that document, providing you give us regular access to your top management team.”
- What Will Happen: You’ll get the inside track on developing the opportunity.
- Warning: If you don’t demand something significant, the customer will know you’re a patsy.
Personally I have faced this dilemma ever so often and have just learnt to discern the serious customer from the one who is playing you.
There is no short cut to “learning” this…it comes from a series of cases, of failures, rewinding the entire “case” in your mind, discussing with your mentor/boss, analyzing what exactly went wrong in the engagement, and imbibing that into your client engagement SOP and looking for warning signs the next time around, so that you are not walked across the garden path again!
LET THE CUSTOMER BEWARE!!!