Dealing with sales discomfort
Knowing what to do is different than actually doing it. Which is why I always ask: What will you do? What keeps us from doing the things we know we should do? Almost always, it’s our fear and our discomfort. We know, for example, the best selling happens on the telephone or face-to-face. And yet, we avoid the phone. We don’t want to bother the customer. We don’t want to annoy the customer. “If they need us, they’ll call us,” we think to ourselves.
I was doing a speech recently to a room of mid-market CEOs and several of the attendees were openly uncomfortable with some of the proactive communications techniques being discussed. They squirmed and they protested.
“I hate being called by people I don't know,” one woman said.
Off to the side, privately, another woman asked, “You want me to call people I haven't talked to in a long time?”
Her: “But why would they want to hear from me?”
Me: “Because they like you. And you provide great value. This is your discomfort, not the customer’s.”
Her: “I know, but how do I get over it?”
Me: “You get over it by getting over it. You just call nice people, tell them you were thinking about them and have a lovely, pleasant conversation. Ask about their family. Ask about what they're working on these days.”
When we do not call, it is our discomfort, not the customer’s. The customer loves to hear from providers they consider valuable. That’s who we buy from, right? People who bring us great value and people we like. So call your customers. They’ll be pleased to hear from you and you’ll have a lovely conversation.
When we do not ask for the business, it is because of our discomfort, not the customer’s. The customer is talking to us for a reason. The customer wants to buy from us. But we rarely ask them to. So many times they do not. I always teach clients to ask for the business every time you talk to your customers.
Should we write it up? How many do you need? When would you like to get started? How would you like to pay?
Think about it from the perspective of when you are the buyer. How many times have you been ready to buy and eager to buy, but the seller didn’t ask you for the business, so you did not buy. This is how it works. Customers love to give referrals, but we don’t ask. That is our discomfort.
Why do customers love to give referrals? They like helping friends or colleagues connect with a trusted, excellent provider like you. They want to help you because you do great work. They like affirming their own decision. “My provider is great, you need my guy!”
If you don’t believe that people love giving referrals, ask for a recommendation to a chiropractor or lawn service the next time you’re in a social setting with friends or family members. People will not only happily give you referrals, but they will fight for their referral. They will explain, in great detail, why their referral is best. People love to give referrals. But we don’t ask because of our discomfort.
So we do not get nearly as many referrals as we deserve. When you know you should be doing something you are not doing it almost always is because of your discomfort. And when it comes to selling more, most of these things we know we should do, but avoid, are communications actions. The more we communicate, the more people buy. The less we communicate the less people buy. The streams never cross. We can never communicate less, but sell more. It’s against the laws of physics.
What do you do when your discomfort is keeping you from doing the good and righteous work that will help you bring more money home to your family?Recognize the discomfort. Understand the discomfort is really a fear of failure or rejection. What if they tell me no? And then be totally honest and assess what will happen if this fear comes true. What will really happen when they tell me no? Not death. Nobody will come and take your home. The children will still have milk to drink in the morning. And once you realize this, make the communication.
Make the call. Ask for the business. Ask for the referral. Your customers deserve your great value. And you deserve the additional take-home pay these added sales will generate.