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A lesson in sales.......

I am no expert in sales, but as a trainer I am always looking for ways to learn from others.

Before clients buy from you, they have to know you, like you and then prefer you.

People buy products and/or services for one reason, to fulfil a need or a desire.

So why do businesses get it so wrong?

Recently I was looking for a  specific service for my business, so I decided to use my Linkedin network.

I found a company, that seemed to have all the right credentals, although their website did not give that much information, but they seem to focus in my area of speciality.

So I was 70% on-board with this company, and filled in the contact form on the website.

I was really impressed when I received a phone call within 5 minutes, of pressing the send button on the contact form.

However it became clear early on in the disussion, that the sales person, was more interested in:

  • Selling me a solution that fitted them,
  • Telling me about their shiny offices and
  • Boasting about how long they have been in business,

Than finding out about my business issue I wanted them to solve.

But the biggest issue, was that during the 15 minute conversation, the sales person neither questioned, listened nor cared about what the problem was I needed them to solve.

In addition to this they had one pricing strategy, based on two project durations, neither of which met the requirements of my business.

By the end of the conversation, my buy in with this company was reduced to 50%!

Within an hour a 25 page proposal was emailed, however the document:

  1. Concentrated more on telling me the history of their company.
  2. Did not tell me clearly how their services was going to help my company.
  3. Proposed  a strategy that was the opposite to the strategy of the business, and finally
  4. Quoted a incorrectly calculated price for the project

So my buy in and confidence with this company had now reduced from 70% to 40% within a space of 2 hours!

I emailed them to say thank you for the project quotation, but their project strategy, was not in line with my business strategy for growth.

Strangely enough they asked for feedback, but I got the impression, this would be a waste of my time.

So my search continued….

So what did I learn from this experience?

When dealing with clients:

  • Communication is always key, respond to requested promptly and efficiently to client requests

  • Really listen to what they say.

  • Be interested in your clients, rather then interesting

  • Use language that your client understands, speak their language and not jargon

  • Be flexible in your business offering should fit your clients needs, not the other way round

Colin Steed

That's a great post Julia and a lesson to everyone on this network. The sales process is something many companies (I hesitate to say 'the majority') get completely wrong and most fall into the trap of selling services not solutions. Although I am far from being a salesman (or could ever hope to be) but I know that the first principle in selling is 'listen to your customer first - then tailor your service to provide a solution'.


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