Hide there’s a salesman coming

Have you ever noticed that sales people are not very popular and that they are avoided as much as possible?  Just about everyone has had experiences with a sales person that is pushy and just won’t take no for an answer.  How many times have you picked up the phone while at work and some sales person on the other end was trying to sell you something and just didn’t seem to understand the words “not interested”?  Or how many times has a sales person called you during dinner and you just couldn’t seem to get off the phone short of hanging up on them, all the while your dinner is getting cold? Sales people over the years have gotten the rap of being pushy and irritating and people everywhere do their best to avoid them whenever possible.

Prior to cell phones and VOIP lines being common, long distance service was a huge market and companies like A&T and Sprint spent millions on marketing, you couldn’t turn on the T.V. or radio, or open a magazine or newspaper without seeing some sort of advertisement about long distance service, and it was common practice for sales people to call you and try to convince you to switch your long distance service.  I remember once a salesman called me pitching the long distance rates of one of the long distance company’s  which will remain nameless, and he tried to convince me that he could save my company hundreds of dollars a year by offering a less expensive rate than I was currently paying.  I politely told him that I was not interested and that I was happy with the service I had.  I could not get this guy to stop talking, even after telling him several times that I was not interested he kept on going and going.  I finally had to be very blunt and tell him I was busy and basically hung up on him. Do you think he got the picture that I was not interested?  No, he kept calling several times a week,  leaving voice mails, I even spoke to him several times after that, and each time told him I was not interested, and at one point even told him that he was harassing me and to stop calling, and yet he kept on calling.  I eventually had to call the company and complain, several times, in order to get the calls to stop.

You can be a good salesman without being a pushy salesman, and in my experience when you are that pushy and you spend that much time running your mouth, you spend very little time listening so that even if you get the sale, you probably won’t have a happy customer because you didn’t spend any time actually listening to the customer, and finding out what the customer’s needs were, you were too busy trying to “close the deal” so that you could get your commission. My grandmother told me that God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason, that being, you should listen twice as much as you talk.  A good salesman is not pushy and when he does have a potential customer, he listens to what they have to say, so that he can deliver a product or service based on the customer’s needs, and that is exactly the point, a good salesman is focused on the customer’s needs, a pushy salesman is focused on his needs.

Unfortunately these pushy salesmen have given all salesmen a bad reputation, and now whenever you try to get someone on the phone or even visit them personally their guard is already up, because of the past experiences that they have had with other sales people. So what do you do to overcome this obstacle?  You have to show them that you are not pushy, you have to show them that you are willing to listen to what they have to say and not spend the entire conversation overselling the product or service, making it sound too good to be true and honest with them and manage their expectations, because as I talked about last week in my article “ (Honesty and integrity in sales, is it possible?)  it is better to lose a sale by being honest than to sell something that the client is not going to be happy with.  Creating long lasting relationships is more valuable than that one commission and in the long run you can help change that perspective of how sales people are looked at, one customer at a time, one sale at a time.