Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Sales Strategies: Your Client Is Not A Fool! Neither Should You.

Your Client Is Not A Fool!
Although it seems that I'm parodying an advertising campaign from a company we’re all familiar with, I'm not. I really wonder: When will come the day in which companies understand the world has changed, that consumers do not behave the same way they did before, that they've learned a few things and are not fools anymore?

Some time ago, I received a call from a representative of a company I had the opportunity to do business with recently. During the first minutes of our conversation, he was devoted to praising me, saying I had been one of their best pupils, that the company was very happy with my performance, and so forth.

And in fact, he managed to make me feel really good, with my ego bloated, (you would have felt the same way, I’m sure), until he began to tell me that the company had given me a "scholarship" to take another course with them, which was priced € 1.800, but since I "was a special person," and had earned a scholarship, they gave me a 50% discount and I only had to pay €900. Sounded really simple!

OMG! You have to be really out of your mind to continue to use, in the XXI century, sales strategies as such, and even pushing your client to give you an immediate response, or otherwise losing their “special” offer!

The really funny thing came next, since I decided to share the story with some friends who have done business with the same company, just to find out they all said they had received the same offer through the phone. 

What do you think? What can we learn from this story?

This little real life story, as some people say, allows us to draw some interesting conclusions which you can apply to your selling strategies, and if you can think of anything else, you’re most welcome to share it here. Let’s start then:

  • If you make a personal offer, make sure it’s really personal and not something everyone else can enjoy. If you tell your customer the offer is exclusively for him, make sure it is like that, because he will surely appreciate it and will allow you to strengthen your relationship with him.
  • Always think your clients can be connected: Don’t make the mistake to believe that "no one will ever know you’re lying to your customers", because maybe you've got that wrong. Look at the case I mentioned. In just a couple of hours, talking with my colleagues, we all came to realize the exclusive offer phone call was a hoax.
  • Don’t get used to building your sales presentations on lies: This should be obvious, but it looks like we have to bring it back again, and again because we tend to forget it. In this case, all the initial conversation I had with the company’s representative, was based on a lie. The company hadn’t chosen me for anything, they weren’t even happy with my performance and I wasn’t a special student for them. How do you think I feel now as a customer? Will I do business with them again? Not likely.
  • Remember that above all, is about your company’s reputation: Are you willing to put so much at stake just to close one sale? Are you in such a hurry to close the deal, that you put all your eggs on every phone call you make?

They say that "confidence is as fragile as a crystal glass .. once broken, there is no turning back ..", and in this case it's basically the same: An error in your company’s selling strategy, can simply destroy all relationships you have built with your customers, just like that. Is it really worth it?

Don’t ever take your client for a fool, or think they are never going to find out you're trying to cheat on them, it’s a gamble in which you are risking out a lot.

Are you really willing to go that far?

Related article: Corporate Reputation And Sales Reps’ Responsibility.

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