October 30, 2008

Protect the Customer's Ego!

You are 'beating around the bush' with that potential customer a
colleague said to me after a sales call recently. I asked him to
explain and he added 'you make a point or ask the customer a question
that cuts directly to the point, but then you dilute it by adding
something like 'what do you think', or 'do you think that might apply

I must admit I struggled to explain why. They I remembered two
golden rules of sales - 'protect the customers ego' and even more
basic: 'don't make the customer feel foolish'.

I like a good headline as much as the next person and bold type such
as '90% of managers fail to budget properly for IT projects '
certainly grabs attention, but isn't it really a disguised insult to
the customer.

If you are going to poke your nose into the customers business and
he/she opens up to tell about the business you have to be very
careful. Selling entails identifying problems and creating tension
for their resolution, but the pace at which that happens very

You may quickly arrive at what you feel is the ideal solution for the
customer and may even struggle to hide your surprise at how obvious it
is, but slow down and make sure you bring the customer along at
his/her own pace to the same realizations.

So take your time to air all the clients problems, or short comings
and balance with recognition and praise for the companies successes
and achievements. Finally, don't making your suggestions in a way
that will make you look like a ''know it all''.

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