Curated Leadership for Today's World

Give your client time to marinate, not stew!

Posted on 05 August 2010

I recently moved into a lovely historic home that had everything I wanted except energy efficient windows. Being a good project manager, I went out for multiple bids and began doing my research on the Internet. Many of my past jobs involved me finding qualified contractors to complete a job on schedule, on budget, and to a quality standard.

After getting eight separate bids, I came to the overwhelming conclusion that there are still industries out there that have no idea how to effectively sell in the 21st century. I encountered archaic pitches, tactics, and pricing that I had no idea still operated in today’s sales and marketing environment. I felt like I was back in the stone age of buying a used car on a lot in the prehistoric town of Bedrock. Here’s a list of the things I saw guaranteed to make a potential client stew and not marinate:

Don’t diss the other company’s product: This got old after one time. Each company points out how bad the other company’s products are. Problem is, after each one left and I researched them on the Internet and the Better Business Bureau website, I found that they had more than their share of complaints. You will always have some customer complaint issues, the real issue is how well do you deal with resolving them for your client.

Don’t claim you’ve got some kind of patent unless you are in a scientific industry: This also got old and after a while I felt everyone just said that because if they had a brand, it meant they had a patent. Everyone said they were the only ones that had this special type of material for the frame, type of glass, or coating. It’s a window. And while I understand there are different coatings and efficiencies, we’re not building a rocket ship. I’m a consumer, not a scientist. I am not interested in your patents.

Don’t tell me that this offer is only good for right now: I am not going to sign anything within 24 hours of it being put in front of me. Period. I know that means you have to follow up, but seeing as windows run in the thousands to the tens of thousands in replacement costs, expect it.

Don’t start with a high cost and then bring it down by 50 percent; I learned this “strategy” years ago. It’s called “anchoring”. I throw out a high price and then ratchet it down “just for you” so you can see what a great deal you’re getting. I had no idea this archaic practice was still in use other than for selling jewelry.

Don’t call your sales manager to see how good a deal I can get; this is by far the goofiest and most disturbing thing yet. Seriously, you work for an idiotic company if you have to call for permission to get me a really great deal. I fell for this once about a year ago. Never again.

Don’t tell me that I am wasting your time because I won’t sign a contract at your initial meeting. Yes, someone actually said this to me. And yes, I told them I wouldn’t want to waste any more of their time and to leave my home now.

Give your client time to marinate, not stew. Let them take the time to do the research and verify that you are all the things that you say you are. How is your sales force doing? Do they display any of the behaviors listed above?

I have a couple of books I would highly recommend your sales force take the time to read. Did you know that the average salesman reads less than one book a year? That’s why they are average. No business can afford to be average.

How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling, by Frank Bettger

The Greatest Salesman in the World, by Og Mandino

How to Master the Art of Selling, by Tom Hopkins

Good Reads, Great Results, A Tremendous Life!!!

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6 comments

  • Mike Sparrow: February 20, 2016

    Great recommendations for books Tracey. Frank Bettger had a tremendous effect on my live and Og Mandino, as an author, is my idol. Hope to see your place one day soon. Blessings.

  • traceyjones: February 20, 2016

    Tony, I can always count on you for confirmation! I was just really surprised at how antiquated the approaches were. I am still without new windows, like you:-) I just kept thinking, how can anything this relatively simple be this hard! Have a great weekend:-)

  • Tony Michalski: February 20, 2016

    Hi Tracey!

    YES! I went through the same exact thing. It got so frustrating that I didn’t get any windows at all.

    One guy came into my home. Just like you experienced, it was a high-pressure pitch — low on patience, high on ABC (Always Be Closing). After about half an hour, I told him that I’d research what he said and call him when I made a decision, whether yes or no. I even added that I knew he’d heard that plenty of times and the “buyers are liars,” but I’d stay to my word and let him know whatever decision I made.

    Just like you, he lowered the price DRASTICALLY. I mean, the price he went to was about a tenth of the original. He had me on the phone with his manager. I am not exaggerating that they even tried the “what if we gave them to you for free?” tactic, to which I responded in the negative.

    It was horrible. I should add that I was serious — very serious — about not letting them install them for free. Why? I wouldn’t trust them to do a good job. I want to be quoted a fair price. Perhaps haggle a little, but in realistic realms.

    I couldn’t wait for the guy to leave.

    And yes, I got the “I think you’re wasting my time here” line as well.

    What is it with buying windows? I should add that buying a mattress was also a horrible experience.

    I felt that I was the only one to go through this. Maybe it’s a Pennsylvania thing? (I’m in Wilkes-Barre.) I’d hate to think that it is. I just wonder.

    Anyway, another great post. Thanks for hearing my rant. You’re not alone out there. :-)

    All the BEST!

    Have fun … Tony.

  • Tracey Jones: February 20, 2016

    I can remember the vacuum sales guys coming to the door as a kid and doing the whole sales pitch:-) It must be a PA thing!

  • Tony Michalski: February 20, 2016

    Hi Tracey!

    Pennsylvania … The state where buying windows and vacuum cleaners is a full-contact sport. At least it feels that way! :-P

    Have fun … Tony.

  • traceyjones: February 20, 2016

    Thanks Mike. Frank Bettger’s book was Dad’s favorite:-) Look forward to seeing you too!!

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