Bad Experience Sales Call



By Roger N. Daviston

Recently, in one of my TeleTraining classes, a client shared a bad experience that he had on a sales call. See if any of this sounds familiar.

Let’s look at the facts:

  1. Husband/wife find out they have a cracked heat exchanger from another company – and had a quote from them.
  2. Husband is at work. (Not good).
  3. We are there to give her ANOTHER price.
  4. She is mad because it is Christmas time and they don’t have any money.
  5. They never finance anything.
  6. Customer is looking for LOWEST price.
  7. Client is ALWAYS highest in town. (Not good).
  8. Wife will not open up and talk – she just wants a bid left for her husband to look over. (Not good).

Let the games begin. But, the problem is: We played by the wife’s rules, we gave her everything she wanted, we just quoted the least expensive furnace, wrote it on a proposal, and here it comes … (I know you have never heard this one) “I’ll show it to my husband and we will get back to you”.

We did not get this one YET and she is HIDING. (Imagine that).

So what could we have done differently?

What you are about to read may seem unconventional and confrontational because you can’t hear my tonality or see my body language – a total of which is 93% of communication. The words are only 7%. I think it’s just assertiveness and controlling the game. We always play by my rules. I control the structure of the call. They get to control the content.

When this lady would not open up and talk to me and pressed me for a price and then would have me leave, I would have said something like this, “Won’t make any sense”. They usually get a strange look on their face and ask, “Why?” “Well, you want the cheapest and we are ALWAYS high. Been doing this for a long time and can’t remember the last time we were cheapest”. Just relax and listen. She’s either real confused or getting madder. Remember, she is already mad and the rule is you can’t lose anything that you don’t have.

I’ll assume she just is a little confused and asks me a “Why” question. The rule is to move away from the prospect psychologically and get the sales call to a “No” and then start over. This takes a lot of guts and if you have a high need for approval, it will feel real bad. I would say this, “You know, I just don’t get the feeling we are the right company for you. We are high priced, I have a lot of questions, and you don’t want to talk to me. I just don’t think we are a good fit. Do you?”

I’m trying to get her to agree with me and get the sales call out of the way so I can build a little rapport. I may not be able to do it, but, if I don’t, I’m not going to get the business anyway, so I have nothing to lose. When she finally agrees, say this, “Now that we know we aren’t going to do business, before I leave can I ask you a question?”

And if she gives you permission, start asking some questions. I think this one is a good starting point:

“I see that you are very upset about having to put in a new furnace right here at Christmas and money is tight, I can see that. Why would you spend any money right now if you don’t have it? Maybe there are some other solutions for now that would make more sense. Tell me why we can’t get your husband involved in this process and explore the possibilities together?”

When she pressures you again (because she will) about the other possibilities, say, “I don’t know… maybe nothing”. “I think all we are going to do is sit down talk about them. If they all look bad – tell me “No” and I’ll leave. If one looks good – we all decide together what happens next. It’s no big deal, you chose. Now does this sound OK and do you think your husband would be comfortable with this meeting?”

If you can’t get this meeting there is really no reason to do anything but leave. Unless you’re the cheapest guy in town and if that’s the case just hire some high school kids to do quotes.

It’s never about the cheapest. I coached a client one-on-one last Spring, and he had permission to meet everyone’s price and his closing rate did not go up that much. He was shocked. Chew on that for a while and see if it changes your mind. The rule here is the problem the prospect brings you is never the real problem and they don’t know what the real problem is. It is your job to help them discover it and then provide the solution.

You must dig deep to find the real problem. Who knows where the husband is. Assume nothing. They may not be speaking. He may not know anything about the furnace problem. That’s the real world. Be empathetic and just simply try to build trust and rapport first. She’s upset about something and it may not be money, Christmas, or the furnace. Try to find out and help in the best way possible – but play by your rules or you are going to get killed on these kinds of leads.

Any body can sell a referral or a repeat customer. It doesn’t take much skill because they trust you already. Learn how to take control of the sales call and then try to build some trust. This is the first step.

About the author, SFC

Roger Daviston is a personal growth consultant who gets measurable results. He facilitates and encourages individuals to change behavior and make different choices to achieve better outcomes.

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