Everyone’s a Customer.
I think to get my point across in this post, I need to start with a story.
Most people know that I like to cycle to and from the Office. I have done for years and I wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s great! Don’t get me wrong, it does have it’s negatives; the wind and rain aren’t ideal and my ass doesn’t look the best in Lycra but the health benefits far outweigh the negatives and not only that, it shaves off around 25 minutes commuting time every day, and saves me a fair penny or two too! To help shave off some time on my commute, before I reach my commute I cut through a large car dealership’s forecourt. It probably only saves me a minute or two to do so but it all adds up doesn’t it. This one particular day, I was feeling more tired than normal and decided to get off my bike and walk through the forecourt instead of cycling. This gave me the opportunity to see 3 of the forecourts sales people as they were heading for their morning cigarette.
As I approached the three men, all smartly dressed and enjoying their first coffees of the day, I made sure to look up and try to make eye contact. And I did; I looked up, clocked eyes with one of the sales people and slightly nodded my head and said ‘morning’ – believe it or not, I got blanked. Yes, that is right. I got completely blanked by this sales person. He quickly looked away and continued to talk to his colleagues about the crap he got up to at the weekend.
Now, I am not one to assume, however it got me wondering why I was blanked. I thought it over; my approach was friendly enough, and not overly friendly either. The only thing I could put it down to was two things;
Perhaps the exchange was too early for this individual. Maybe he hadn’t quite woken up at this time of the morning. Or, on the assumption of what I was wearing (cheap cycling gear), the individual assumed I could not afford one of his fine cars.
Unfortunately, both of these reasons don’t sit well with me at all. First of all, it is never to early to sell or to do anything for that matter. As soon as your eyes open you should be ready and raring to go. I don’t care if you are too tired, or if you are hungover or whatever. They are all of YOUR problems. Not your customers!
Secondly, the assumption that I could not afford a shiny new car is a terrible excuse to not approach me! My current car is falling apart and I am starting to think about getting a new car. Just because I didn’t walk across the forecourt in smart shoes doesn’t mean I can’t afford a car; it just means I prefer to wear lycra (true story).
Back in May of 2017 I read a story which underlines this point completely. An elderly man walked into a shop called Maxsingburibigbike in Thailand. This man was dressed in clothes that were very aged and just wearing old flip flops. As the man looked around the shop, sales people ignored him thinking he was just looking around. Because he didn’t look like he had money, he was ignored. Despite giving off plenty of buying signals and focusing his attention to a bike that cost just over $17,000 still no one approached him, so he went off to find the store owner. After a 10 minute chat with the owner, the gentleman proceeded to pay for the bike in cold hard cash.
The point I am getting at, is that every person you come in to contact with is a customer; either current, or future.
I tell my teams, and people I coach, to never judge anyone on what they want or do not want. Never assume what your customer wants. A good sales person will speak with a prospect and ask them what THEY want. It is then your job to problem solve and recommend the right product or service to satisfy the needs of your prospect. The minute withhold a product or service just under the assumption your client doesn’t want it or cannot afford it is the day you need to address your mindset.
On a sidenote to this – just because a prospect is not your customer NOW doesn’t mean that they won’t be your customer in the future! Treat every person you meet with the utmost respect and do not feel ill feelings towards a prospect if after you have spent time with them that they go away and think things over. For all you know, your prospect will return in a months time, two months time, maybe even a years time! Business at times can be a slow moving wheel and you have to be ready to take any chance you are given.
So thinking back to my earlier story – the scenario where I was ignored by 3 sales people. Just imagine if they had opened me up and got to know me a little bit, even day by day. If, from that first initial contact these people had tried to develop a relationship with me I would be more than willing to buy from them. This could be worth £15,000 or so to their company, and God knows how much it is worth to this persons pay slip! But as it stands, my mind is still open to options across the market and only time will tell where I eventually decide to buy a new car from.
Treat everyone with the same respect as you would expect to get in a store and I guarantee your sales targets will be met time after time.
Put service first!
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