Guest post by Lena L. West, Social Media Strategist
How you're treated BEFORE you spend your money...is a damn good indicator of how you'll be treated AFTER you give someone your hard-earned cash.
Recently, I reached out to someone who I believed provided a service that I will need in a few months. Being the over-achiever that I am (this is NOT always a good thing, BTW), I reached out to this person, let's call her "Heather", in an attempt to lay the ground work for when I need to actually start working with her.
I read her website, looked at her materials and left her a voice mail letting her know that I had some questions to ask her before I engaged her firm. I asked her to call me.
Five days later, she returned my call and didn't even mention the communication lapse. Oh, I forgot to mention that "Heather" and I have many, many colleagues in common. I know her and she knows me; it wasn't like I was some stranger calling her (it actually would have been worse if I were a stranger!).
She left me a voice mail and asked me to call her. Which I did, less than two hours later, and I couldn't get through to her. After 45 minutes of trying to get through, I sent her an email thinking that maybe something was wrong with her phone. She responded to my email by sending me a form that asked some questions that was clearlly labelled, "Request for Services". Wait, when did I request a service? What did I miss?
Listen, I'm all for being focused on process, but remember, people do business with PEOPLE, not processes and if a potential client feels like they're being sold before they get a chance to ask a question -- even if it's answered by someone on your team -- they are probably going to bail. People NEED to feel heard (see Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs), not SOLD.
And, it can happen to the best of us, right? We're following the advice of an "expert" and they recommend an approach that is so process-driven that it takes the LIFE out of the sales process - it robotizes it and by so doing tries to plunk square pegs into round holes.
So, here I am, someone with intent and money to pay for "Heather's" services...and now I'm turned off and don't really want to work with her.
Here's the take-away: All of this is marketing. How you treat someone before you get their money is a good indicator that you won't serve them any better post-sale. If you do a gut check and find yourself rushing the sale, take the time to ask youself these questions:
- Why am I rushing the sale?
- Do I feel nervous about the sale? Does selling make me feel badly in some way?
- Am I relying too much on process and not enough on the "me" that people are truly buying?
- What are the indicators that I can look for that will tell me when I'm rushing the sale?
- When these indicators "show up", how can I level off and stop rushing?
If you are rushing the sale, remember, it's OK. You're not a bad person. Be patient with yourself and be willing to "go there" and ask yourself some questions. It could be that you don't like sales or sales put you in a different frame of mind. My point in writing this post is to ask you to get to the bottom of it because if your sales process is turning people off, well, then that kinda defeats the purpose, yah?