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You Want My Business? Respect My Time.

01 Jun Posted by in Business | Comments

The best skill a sales person can have is a respect for their clients’ time. Here’s one simple thing you can do to help you stand up and stick out among the sales people.

Okay, time to vent. Do you know why we hate sales people? Do you know why cold calling gets such a bad reaction from the receiver? Do you wonder why your sales people aren’t getting the business? I’ll tell you why. Because they don’t respect my time.

But first let me say that I am a sales person. My business card may say motivational speaker and comedian, but that means nothing if I can’t convince the customer to hire me. If’ I’m not out there consistently generating business, my career will go nowhere. So I get it. I’ve been on both sides of the phone. I have even come to a point where I believe that picking up the phone and cold calling anyone is a waste of energy –  even more, a heinous invasion and lack of respect for someone’s time. “But they’re just doing their job,” you say. Well, so am I. And nothing disrupts my train of thought more than getting a random call about how I would benefit from advertising in your  magazine, despite the fact that I don’t even live in your state, that my buyers don’t read your magazine, and all my advertising is done online. You would know that if you did a little homework. You would know that if you asked me questions first, instead of launching into your phone script. You would know that if you actually gave me a minute to speak, and actually listened to me. You would be far better served if you had gotten to know me on different terms, and had developed a relationship with me first before convincing me I need your product.

We can talk all day on this subject, and how to be effective sales people. And I am certainly not the sales expert. I’m just a frustrated business owner who can’t believe how many sales people are doing things to alienate me, when I might have been interested in their service under better terms. And there’s one piece of advice I can offer to help them: Respect my time.

It’s that easy. And respecting my time has nothing to do with scripts and sales techniques. It has to do with an understanding for your buyer and the fact that they are working and actually have a list of things they are trying to do, fires they are trying to put out, things they need to get done before day’s end. I’m in the middle of handling a crisis and you call to ask me how I like my current phone service? Your phone call is often the last thing I have time to think about right now. And now I’m angry at you because you have interrupted me during a very important project. And that anger I associate with your product and your company.

I know, I know – you have no idea what’s happening on my end. And you won’t get the business if you don’t ask for it. I get it. But just do me a favor. One little favor. Open your phone conversation by asking me if this is a good time to talk. Radical, I know. I started doing that with everyone I call, not just clients, and it is amazing how their tone changes when you have voiced your respect for their time. Some people will actually give me their time just because I showed them a respect for it.

To some of you this may be something you already do. Great! Keep doing it, and honor their wishes. But many of you out there are not doing this – I know, because you’re calling me. So take a moment to review your sales motives, which are just as important (if not more so) than your sales actions. Before you pick up the phone (put a note on your desk if you have to) remind yourself that you first want to see if this is a good time for them.

Happy selling!

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