I received a call from a service contracting sales person named Fred about a situation he found himself in that really took his confidence down a notch. Fred is the top performer at his company and has achieved a 73% closing rate with a 55% gross margin on his jobs. By all measure of success he was a doing a great job.
Then he had a call where after presenting his customized solutions, his buyer lit the fuse on a sales-bomb and completely devastated Fred. The buyer listened to Fred’s presentation and during the course of Fred handling objections, the buyer said, “Fred, you sound like a used car salesman.”
Blind Sided By a Sales Terrorist
Now Fred had always focused his sales approach on creating respect, honor and trust and so that statement completely devastated him. In fact, not only did he not sell that job but he then went on a streak of 14 sales presentations on a row without selling a job. He called me asking what he could do to turn things around.
Confidence Blown Away
I asked Fred what did he think had changed after that call and he said that he was doing everything the same except he began to back off on asking for the job and handling objections during the course of his calls. When I asked him why, he said, “Joe, I think I just lost my confidence after that call where I was insulted by being called a slimy sales person.”
I asked him how often has someone told him that he acted like a “used car salesman” before. Fred answered, “Hmmmm I can’t recall ever being called that before. That’s what really got me.” I informed Fred that he was the victim of a sales terrorist. These are people that love to make sales people hurt. They think it’s part of negotiation.
Get Back On The Horse After Falling Off
I asked Fred, “Why are you allowing this one person out of the hundreds of calls you have done, to determine the value of you as a sales person?” he said, “Uh, I don’t know. Sounds kinda silly huh?”
Yes it is silly indeed. I got Fred to eventually realize that if he was going to fail that he should go down with all of the bullets out of his gun. To try everything he knew to close the sale if he really believed in his solutions. Over the next few weeks Fred returned to his normal strong closer status and sold 14 of the next 20 calls he did.
Don’t Be a Victim Of Sales Terror
Whenever you get feedback from a customer that is less than flattering, always ask your self if this is a trend that keeps repeating itself or if it is an isolated sales terrorist incident. Why put so much weight on the feedback of only one person?
What I mean is that if you have found a successful way of selling that is working for you where most of your buyers are telling you that you have done a great job, why change your approach based on the opinion of only one or two people?
Don’t Let Terrorists Win
Never let a sales terrorist bring your confidence down. Learn what works for you and keep doing it even if a few customers don’t like it. Celebrate your success and failure evenly and study the trends. After all, results don’t lie.
Look at yourself and the value you create for your customers by the positive results you get for them not only the few times you crash and burn. You’re a sales pro and you know the principles behind what works. Use those principles over and over to achieve the results you want.