Lose the Sale before Your Reputation

By Deanna Dunsmuir

I am not a salesperson, however, I understand that they earn a living off of commission; no sales means no livelihood. Yet, there is still something else at stake, which is their reputation.

Letting go of the sale is always better if the alternative is to ruin your reputation. A good reputation means referrals, customer satisfaction, and repeat customers.

Recently I received an email from a sales representative. She was from a company that was providing a service to me. We were already working under a certain package that was purchased from her and she was trying to sell me on an add-on (and not in a round-about way). After repeatedly rejecting this add-on, this particular salesperson crossed the line.

This was at the bottom of her email:

“A cynic is a person who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.” –Oscar Wilde
“If you want people to pay for your [work], give them a quality, professional piece of writing.” –[the sales rep put her name here]

She was playing to the fact that writers can be susceptible to the fear of their work being bad to sell a very expensive editing service to me. Yet, her tactic, which may work on some (sadly)-was just an insult to me. It crossed the line into unprofessionalism.

Let’s say that the content was actually not good. Okay, then what would have gotten a better response from me would have been to be sensible- not ruthless and ugly.

For example she could have said: Listen, I know that I’m a sales rep and I make commission, but I am telling you to use this service so that you have the most success possible. You should use this editing service because I want to see you sell the content and be successful.

[Many reps are afraid to break that barrier of stating the elephant in the room. Yes-they make money when you spend money. But, when you state that fact, I feel that you are recognizing the roles we are in. Doing so automatically makes me feel that you are not talking at me but with me.]

Or she could have said: “X amount of the content here does not make a profit because of mistakes X, Y, and Z. If you use this service to correct Z, than you can expect X amount more in sales guaranteed.

Those are both logical and sensible ways to make a sale-why? Because it shows you are speaking to how it benefits me or how it will affect my bottom line.

In order to get someone to pay more, they have to be able to understand how that equates to making more later on. And in order to feel like your service benefits me I need to feel that you are coming from a helpful and sympathizing place-like you are playing for my team- not against it.

Her sales pitch of desperation via attacking the work exposed her true motivation. Herself. That is a huge mistake in sales-one that will surely follow you as a reputation. I couldn’t imagine anything worse for a sales rep than being known for selling unneeded products for solely his/her own benefit.

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Categories: selling

Tags: , , , , ,

1 reply

  1. Nice article, sales is a marathon, not a sprint,

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