“Yes” — according to customers. “No” — according to salespeople.
The problem is that it’s not what salespeople think that matters, it’s what customers think that matters. I believe the issue lies in the simple fact that too many salespeople have no clue as to what they’re doing and no clue as to how to engage the customer in a meaningful discussion about their true needs. Is it any wonder that there are so many salespeople who not only have low sales motivation, but also aren’t anywhere near the high profit selling they could be experiencing.
Customers tell me how on many occasions they’re dealing with either salespeople who they think are stupid or salespeople who treat the customer as if they are the stupid one. In both cases, you immediately see a problem — someone believes someone is stupid. Ouch, this hurts. As a salesperson myself, the perception people have about salespeople in general can and does impact me personally.
The solution to this is simple. We need to spend more time engaging the customer in a meaningful way. There is no short cut to taking the time to understand them and their real needs. When we do this, we should do it not in a cursory manner, but with genuine effort to get to know the customer. Customers are smart. They can see when people don’t care. If they already have the perception that salespeople don’t care, then it means we have to be even more focused in understanding what the customer wants.
For me, this is a challenge I relish, because I love turning skeptics into advocates. It’s fun too, because the fact is there are too many salespeople out there who have zero clue on understanding their customers; therefore, I find it rewarding to see customers realize (happily) that I don’t fit that description. I am different than most.
The question is do you want to be different than most too? Do you want to be a salesperson who authentically demonstrates to customers that you are not stupid — and you certainly don’t think the customer is stupid? If you want to be a salesperson who leaves customers with a favorable impression, then put in the time and effort to really understand their needs.