Sales Coaching Tip – Sales Mistake 10

Sales Coaching Tip – Sales Mistake 10

Read the words of two different salespeople and decide who you would buy from again.

The first salesperson, James, is the restaurant owner who is responding to my husband, who for the first time grossly over-ordered at an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant (he ordered over 90 pieces of sushi for the two of us). The restaurant’s well-documented policy is to charge patrons for each sushi piece not eaten.

“I wouldn’t charge a friend. So I won’t charge you.” And with a twinkle in his eye, James added, “… this time.”

The second salesperson, Karla, is a software company employee whose manager asked that I demonstrate their technology in my presentations to their target audience over a period of year. Six months into that year, Karla sent me the following email. I had not heard from Karla for months and there had been no indication the manager wanted to end the arrangement early.

“Kindly make arrangements to return our technology to our offices. Please note that if the technology is not returned with seven (7) business days, this technology will be deemed to be purchased and you will be invoiced in full – $7,366.00.”

This email was also accompanied by an angry voice message. And just as an FYI, the manager did not want to end the arrangement early.

Who would you want to be selling your product, James or Karla?

Your team members may be thinking they are doing what you and the company want when, in fact, clients may perceive your salespeople are treating them as enemies. When your team treats clients as enemies, it’s often not intentional.

For example, Karla might have received some bad news. She may have been feeling sick. Or she may not have slept the night before. These are all normal experiences for any employee. Yet, no matter what the reason, there is no excuse from the client’s perspective.

Part of your coaching role is to help your team members learn how to compensate no matter the circumstances.

First identify who on your team might need some help with this sales mistake.

How do you know which team members have been treating clients as enemies? There are some sales indictors to help you. Typically clients who feel they have been treated like enemies usually:

  • Don’t become loyal clients
  • Don’t do repeat business
  • Don’t give referrals

When you’re coaching your salespeople, you can then ensure they are treating clients as friends by asking them sales coaching questions to explore that what they are doing to ensure they:

  • Are sticking to the agreements they have made with clients
  • Delivering on their promises
  • Are taking 100 percent responsibility for their sales actions and their results

If Karla’s sales manager had taken the time to coach her, I would now be the proud owner of their technology. But because of Karla’s actions, I own the technology of their competition.

And if you want to help your team to treat clients the “James” way, also coach your team members to better understand where they have lea way to make changes to your company’s standard policies. This way they know under which circumstances they can bend the rules to endear clients when things go awry.

To help prevent your team members from committing this sales mistake, use the Chapter 11 exercise from my new book, Sell More with Sales Coaching. You can get a free copy of the exercise by going to the “Resources” section of our site.

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