Went It's Time to Stop Talking Article Featured Image

When It’s Time to Stop Talking

Customers who have an established relationship with your company and are using your equipment often add to their existing installed base, requiring you always to have your finger on their pulse. If an existing customer contacts you to ask for a price quote for a new system, you can advance directly to the confirmation or closing phase. They already know what business outcomes are being achieved and do not want a full sales engagement—so customers get a pass. If you call to inform them about a trade-in or upgrade promotion, they will expect you to get straight to the point.

Here is an example of how I experienced this type of scenario firsthand. After several weeks of research, I settled on purchasing my son a new car for college. I received an online quote from a dealership I had purchased a vehicle from before, and my son and I headed out for a test-drive. Upon arriving at the dealership, we were immediately greeted by Mike, who was a young and eager sales rep. After introducing myself as a satisfied customer of their establishment, I pointed to the silver metallic sedan on the front row and handed him our driver’s licenses. I told him if my son liked the way the vehicle handled, we would buy it today. Mike responded by asking me lots of personal questions, like did I live in the area, did I have a budget in mind, and was I looking to buy something soon. Seeing that he was attempting to connect with me, I reminded Mike that I have already decided on the car, was a satisfied customer of their dealership, and that I had received a guaranteed price quote online. I simply wanted my son to drive the car before making the purchase that day.

Mike should have realized that I was in the closing phase and was ready to buy, but instead of paying attention to his customer, he decided to stay on script and transition into the consulting phase. He began talking about the safety features, fuel efficiency, and warranty. Frustrated that the sales rep wasn’t listening, I made one last proclamation. “Mike, if you can’t pull the car around now, we will leave and buy from someone else.” I had finally managed to get the rookie’s attention. Despite his inability to work within the phase his customer was in, he somehow managed to sell a car that day—but just barely.

In this example, the sales rep was approached by a former customer who was ready to make their next purchase—for a predetermined product—and for a price that had already been quoted. It is important to remember that when a customer jumps phases—you must jump with them!

Power Quote

“The customer is not always right, but they are the customer. So if they are wrong, let them be wrong with dignity and respect.”

—Shep Hyken

Harris, Chris. “The Customer Rule.” “Phase Selling for Additive Manufacturing.” 2020, pp. 121-122.

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