The comparison of clientele and a beautiful garden came to mind as I was in conversation with a friend. Jane asked the question, “How do you handle difficult prospective and current clients?” She admitted it is difficult to be in the presence of some.
My response was,
Remove the weeds to make room for the fragrant flowers.
Productivity and time efficiency are essential ingredients for successful sales. Rarely an exception, the difficult clients eat up precious time with constant requests. Avoiding the aggravation is doable in your first meeting by nipping it in the bud.
Before you enter an office, review your values and priorities. Answer these questions:
- What will you accept or decline?
- Are you excited about the potential of the meeting?
- Do you aim for a quick hit sale, or are you grooming a long-term client?
Should you find yourself excited about the upcoming appointment, give yourself a pep talk that you can earn the client’s trust and get the sale. Before your meeting, review the essential talking points. Just as you are about to decide if the prospect is a weed or a flower in bloom, they will be reciprocating with the same frame of mind.
Observations are similar to using a crystal ball for seeing into the future. Do not ignore or make excuses for what your contacts say, do, or how they treat you.
Observations for On-Site Meetings
In-house meetings make it easier to detect if something is not quite right. Personnel reflects the mood of the company. I would go as far as to chat with the receptionist briefly and finish with, “How do you like working here?” Surprise reactions reveal honest answers.
Once in the meeting room, take note of how everyone greets you. Be as cordial as possible. For online meetings, speaking with employees is not possible making observation more crucial than ever.
All styles of meetings require being professionally personal. Before the sales portion, show admiration for the company and person’s work. Ask how their career began. The conversation allows for more in-depth insight as to how you may assist.
Throughout the conversation check for:
- Speaking to you as an equal or talking down
- A rude tone of voice providing meaningless objections
- Undesirable attitude, such as, “I’m the one in charge”
- Unnecessary hurdles for you to proceed that include meaningless follow-up meetings
- Lack of consistency in words and actions
Should you encounter any of the above, it is strongly suggested you rake the weeds away from your pipeline of possible blooming clients. Fill the dumpster. Turn your attention to fertilizing the growing relationships and business.
One objection I’ve heard many times is, “aren’t you taking the conversation too personally?” The answer is ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ No, to the word, too; yes, to the word, ‘personally.’
I personally don’t like people speaking to me with disrespectful authority. And I advocate that others be mindful of what is happening around them.
The negativity coming from the other person only serves to weigh us down. You soon realize a lack of energy and enthusiasm that takes the focus away from the more interesting clients. And so begins the downward spiral of contemplating wanting to quit the job or possibly the profession.
Only quit on your terms. The better route is to find a better way out of what is holding you back. Should quitting be on your mind day and night, read ‘Do You Really Want to Quit? for added insight, read this!
It is far better to set the landscape with a sales pipeline of more exciting clients. A positive-minded clientele has you looking forward to continuing to feed your beautiful garden.
You can almost sense the sweet smell of success!