Sales Decisions

I originally posted this last year on another blog. Please enjoy if you haven’t read it before.

I just read Frank’s post and he asks some good questions.

As I read, I found myself thinking about me, the way I sell and the way that I have sold. I think that I’ve changed and not necessarily for the better. Not a week goes by that I don’t retract an offer to work with someone. They always get upset with me. Last week, I posted about the prospect that replied, “Wow how arrogant” and threatened me. Last week, I was told that I was “confrontational” and “in your face”.

It doesn’t have to be that way. If I could just get every prospect to read Frank’s post, they might learn about my mental short cuts and understand that it “just didn’t feel right”, but the fact is that I can’t get every prospect to read the post just like he can’t get every sales professional to read the book. They don’t care. They want what they want.

A little history –

When I sold Fuller Brushes, Cutco Cutlery, and furniture, I sold what I sold and moved on. My job was to sell as much as I could. It was somebody else’s job to deliver and do customer service. Then I spent the next 20 years in collections, where I learned two things.

Joe hired me to collect three debts. Every one of his debtors threatened me physically saying something like, “If Joe was here, I’d use this chain on him, but you’re here representing him…” I got out of there. Returned Joe’s paperwork and suggested that he might deserve not to get paid. I talked to thousands of debtors, and only got threatened three times, by Joe’s debtors. Joe was not happy. He said that I had agreed to help him and that I was changing my mind. He was right, but I wish that I had never agreed. Never started. Walked away. Why, because I no longer sold and walked away. I had to deliver. I was a partner with my client and what they did impacted my life. If they were clean, I was clean. If they were a crook, I was a crook and if they lied, cheated, stole or were otherwise unprofessional, it made my job difficult if not impossible.

As I mentioned, I talked to thousands of debtors. They were regular people like you and me that weren’t paying for something that they had agreed to pay for. My client made an offer. The debtor accepted it. Did the debtor actually accept the offer? Did the debtor change their mind? Did my client not deliver? Did the debtor’s world change? Are they negotiating after the fact? (In some cultures this is OK.) What I learned was that many debtors appreciated these questions and that I could determine in 5 minutes whether or not this debtor would pay if they could. I worked with the ones that would. The lawyers sued the ones that wouldn’t.

So, what’s the message. Use the comment section to give your version of what the take-away should be.

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