Wednesday, April 10, 2013

How Not to Be a Bad Salesperson (maybe I'm a critical suspect?)

My husband and I want to retire in North Carolina and while we are still a few decades away from retirement (OK, at least 20 years-because we're not too old yet and because we will have to work until we die...) a few opportunities recently made us consider making the move sooner rather than later. Since I'm a do-er instead of a think-er I decided to make a few calls to get an idea of what the market is like in the 4 years since I sold my house there and moved, and to get some information on time-lines etc. I was unprepared for the responses or lack thereof that I received.

I first called and/or emailed a few folks with listings I found on generic rental sites at the end of last week. Today is Wednesday and less than half of them have bothered to email or call me at all. A few that emailed sent only the most basic of information and told me to email them back when I was ready to move and they'd answer my other questions then. One called to tell me that I was a fool to consider renting when interest rates were so low. Two agents that I contacted with homes for sale had their assistants email me, sending a link to the listing page (info I had obviously already seen online prompting me to ask for additional information in the first place)  and letting me know that when I had a letter and had been pre-qualified they'd be happy to talk again.  Wow...just wow.

I don't rent or sell homes and I have friends that do and I know they're awesome. The realtor that I used to buy and sell my last house was a great guy. This experience made me really think about sales and myself as a salesperson. There are huge variances in sales approaches and philosophies, especially those with a longer sales cycle and a highly competitive marketplace, but I personally think some things are true in any sales process and in any business:

1-The length of time it takes to return a suspect/prospect phone call or email is in proportion to the amount of interest they will believe that you have in being of service to them,

2-Giving information and establishing yourself as an expert goes A LONG way in converting a suspect into a prospect. Likewise, being too focused on only those you feel are 'hot' prospects today doesn't do a darn thing in keeping the funnel consistently filled, building referrals, or establishing apostles,

3-While I totally understand that one has to spend the majority of  prospecting time on those with the suspected money and timeline for the product, sometimes developing a relationship in the suspect stage makes you a sure thing when they meet the money/time sweet spot for a sale,

4-Using scare tactics or attempting to make a potential prospect feel uninformed or just plain stupid if they don't listen to you is foolish, shows insecurity, and oh yeah, tends to turn people off!

5-Remember that what is just another sales transaction or sales inquiry to you may be the single most important thing going on in your suspect/prospect's mind at the moment. That small coaching/consulting session that is just another two hours to you may be the one thing someone is hanging onto to save their small business.The planner looking to place just a few rooms with you may be the single largest event her particularly organization has all year.

I want to think that I always remember these things but this was a good strong reminder to me. If you're in the sales profession...and we're all either buying or selling aren't we?...keep these in mind. And please share any of your others!

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