When Closing a Sale Can Actually Hurt Your Business
Okay, I think this is kind of funny. About a year ago, after months of “working on me” a sales professional finally got me to reluctantly buy his product. Looking back on it now, I should not have bought it for a variety of reasons: it was expensive, it required a lot of time to learn to use and understand, and I think I just was not ready to start actively using that product in my company. Add all of those together and let’s just say the chance that I will get a return on investment is slim to none.
Now, while none of that is good news for me, it is actually worse for the poor guy who sold me the product. As a reluctant customer, I have become his worst nightmare. Sure, he closed the sale, but as a customer who is not happy with my purchase I am more of problem than an asset. I am very worried about how much I spent, how little I use the product, and now I am constantly calling and emailing my “salesman” to share my frustrations.
As a sales person, you need to know that one of fastest ways to decrease your sales productivity and efficiency is to sell to the wrong target market. Oh sure, you might close the sale, but how much is closing that sale costing you? Contrary to popular belief, the goal of a sales person is not just closing a sale; the goal is to sell a product or service to a person that needs and wants your product or service. Just because you think your customer needs the product does not mean they do, and if your customer does not think he needs it, believe me they do not want it.
Closing a sale to a reluctant customer will result in four things happening; none of them good, and all of which mean more work for you:
Fear – first, fear sets in, not for you but for your customer. Not feeling good about what they just bought or how much they spent, your customer starts to worry about the investment.
Doubt – second. your customer starts to experience doubt. In second guessing their decision, they start to feel negative about you and your product or service.
Lack of Commitment – third, having never really bought into the idea of buying your product or service, your customer now has a lack of commitment. A lack of commitment to use your product or get their return on investment.
Bad Experience – fourth, all of this adds up to a bad overall experience your customer will now share with friends and family about your product and service.
If you want to increase your productivity and efficiency as a sales person, then learn to really understand, identify, and focus on the right target market. Sure, it may feel like a win when you get the person to close. But believe me, if it takes a lot of effort to make that sale, that effort will pale in comparison to the effort that you will have to put in on the back-end trying to please your customer and make them happy with their decision.
I will survive this one bad service, but what I learned from the experience was worth the expense. First, I now realize that I cannot allow myself, no matter what, to get talked into buying anything I am not sure about. Second, and more importantly, as a sales person, I understand that the only way to decrease my stress and increase my profits is to focus on the right target market.
Surprisingly, closing a sale is not always a good thing. Closing a sale to the right customer means a happy customer, and lots of referrals. Closing a sale to the wrong customer means you just decreased your productivity and limited your efficiency.
Take it from me, focus on the right customer and the right target market, and in the long run everyone is going to be much happier.
An internationally certified coach, consultant, speaker and author, Meridith Elliott Powell has earned an enthusiastic following among industry leaders across the nation. She’s an active member of the National Speakers Association, the Carolinas Speakers Association, the American Society of Training and Development, the American Banker’s Association, and Lessons in Leadership.
*photo courtesy freedigitalphotos.net