When to Keep Pushing or Pull Back?
Recently, I needed to have a service performed on my car, so I reached out to some providers. I had used one of them, who I’ll call Jake, in the past and was leaning towards doing so again. At the end, however, I decided to go with someone else and communicated my decision to Jake.
Unfortunately, Jake was not all too happy and would not leave me alone afterwards. Instead of accepting my decision, he continued to text and call me to try to discuss. I made clear that my decision had been made, but it took some time until the “harassment” ended.
Suffice it to say that Jake did not earn any credit towards future work with his choice of response.
After thinking about it, I started to realize that I have more Jake in me than I may care to admit.
You see, as a coach, I am in constant sales mode. Which means that it is inevitable that some of my attempts to sell have been viewed as pushy, if not worse.
Naturally, such a feeling can be quite disheartening. After all, I am here to serve, not push. And besides, how can I expect people to learn about my work and how I can be helpful if I am not willing to tell them about it and then follow up?
We know that it’s incredibly rare that a prospect responds to a salesperson’s first outreach attempt. This necessitates following up. And then more doing more follow up on your follow ups. (Industry experts suggest that 5-7 touchpoints – every point of contact from the time they first become a marketing qualified lead – are often needed to close a sale.)
In addition, you often hear that salespeople should not take no for answer and that countless sales were closed after the prospect said no many times before finally caving. And that that’s how the best salespeople 10X their competition.
There is absolute truth to that.
But it’s also true that salespeople have earned a negative reputation because too many cross the line. They quickly go from being a professional, confident salesperson, who passionately believes in his or her products, to an annoying, selfish, obnoxious peddler, trying to extort money.
And that perception – if not reality – is NOT where any of us want to be.
Here are some situations in which you certainly should not push.
1. No problem – When there really is no need for your product or service, don’t try to manufacture one.
2. Wrong motive – If you are pushing because you need to make a sale for your own pocket, your self-serving motivation will shine through. No one wants to work with needy people who, they feel, are just trying to take advantage of them.
In addition, I suggest that you keep these sales strategies in mind:
1. Find the value – This is the opposite of Number One above. More than anything else, value sells. If you have something that others want and need, they will buy. Sometimes, such value is obvious. In other cases, it’s less so. One way to know if you can add value is by asking the kinds of questions that help you understand a potential client’s true wants and needs and then seeking to match your product or service to them.
2. Aim to serve – Make service your top priority. If you can’t be of service in terms of a sale, find other ways that you can be helpful, such as with a resource or a connection.
3. Play the long game – Think of selling as opening a relationship. This, like all strong relationships, can take time. You may not get the desired result on Day One, but if you’re willing to play the long game you will often find that the foundation of trust and positivity that you have built will serve you well in the long haul.
“All things being equal, people do business with and refer business to those people they know, like, and trust.” – Bob Burg