Selling Your Products and Services: Don’t Kill the Deal

Have you even been on the buyer’s side of a business transaction and had the salesman say something that killed the deal? Something so ridiculous or rude that you stopped listening to what he was saying and looked for an exit?

We all have. I don’t know if hubris, prejudice, or just a complete lack of understanding regarding how someone will process what they’re saying causes someone to do that.

Let me share an example. A salesman from a prominent contracting firm was in my home to bid on several remodeling projects. I showed him what I wanted to have done and asked him to please break up the bid into sections as I wasn’t sure if I was going to do one, several, or parts of each and do the painting myself. (I love to paint.)

He responded condescendingly that bids weren’t prepared that way, then went on to say that painting would be a lot of work and it probably wasn’t smart “at our age” to be up on ladders.

Quick show of hands … would you have hired that contractor?

The words you select, your tone of voice, how well you listen, are all indicators of your opinion of your customer.

One method of insuring you never do this unconsciously is to write out a short statement describing how you intend to think of your customers and reviewing it every day when you ‘open’ for business.  Here’s the one I use:

“My customer was smart enough to find my business because he needs my products/ services.  By listening carefully to what he’s saying I can improve my response and increase the opportunity for us both to benefit.  I will show him the respect he deserves.”

By the way … I never told that contractor why he didn’t get the deal.

Published by Leah Ward-Lee

Leah Ward-Lee, the author of "$1,000 Start-Ups", is a serial micro-entrepreneur. She opened her first business at ten after lobbying for and receiving a shoe shine kit for Christmas. She pulled her wagon through the neighborhood, going door-to-door, offering to shine her neighbor’s shoes for twenty-five cents a pair. Once her wagon was full, she took the shoes home and polished them. Unfortunately that business was short-lived. She hadn’t tagged the shoes and couldn’t remember whose shoes were whose, so her dad went with her to retrace the route until every pair was returned. Since then she’s had businesses developing and teaching college courses, instructing aerobic classes, owning half a plane that was rented to a flight and maintenance school, and renting homes. She’s also owned a consignment store, a gift shop, a gift basket business, a consulting firm, hosted The Executive Toolbox (a weekly radio show), and a publishing company. She also spent twenty years in the US Army, served as the Chief Information and Technical Officer for two major insurance companies, and has a second career as a management consultant. Leah resides in Dallas, TX and on Amelia Island with Sammy and Goliath, her two rescue dogs.

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