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Why Salespeople Shouldn’t Be So Fast To Say ‘No’


It’s happened to us all: A customer wants something from you, but you just can’t deliver it to them — at least not at the moment, anyway.

We’ve seen this here at Tellwise before. Sometimes prospects and customers ask us if our products or services can perform this task or that function. In most cases, we can help them. But sometimes, the tools we offer just can’t perform the tasks they’re asking for at that time. Sure, it’s likely a feature that’s on the roadmap and will be available in the future. But that doesn’t help the customer today.

Does that mean you can’t help the customer? Absolutely not!

It’s here where salespeople mistakenly give up the potential sale. Here’s the key: Even when you can’t give the customer what they’re asking for, don’t be quick to give into the temptation to tell them, “No, we can’t help you.”

Matthew Dixon, co-author of “The Effortless Experience,” says it best: “Just because there’s nothing you can do doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do.”

We completely agree. In many cases, there are alternatives that the customer never thought about using to solve their problems. Many people initially have only one solution, process or methodology in mind to help them. But if you show them alternative options and explain that other customers are doing similar tasks in different ways — sometimes even more successfully — many of your customers will be open minded enough to give it a try.

Jeff Haden recently shared a great real-life example on Inc. about his experience with a salesman at a bike shop. Haden’s bike broke the day before a race. The mechanic couldn’t fix the bike in time but offered to rent Haden a temporary replacement to get him through his race. His problem was solved.

“I didn’t get what I thought I wanted — but I did get what I came for,” Haden explained.

The Tellwise Nutshell (TTN): Your goal is to provide customers with a solution; it’s not necessarily about the features they’re requesting. They just want you to help meet their needs and solve their problems. Always be thinking about alternative solutions!

Source: Inc., October 2013

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