Sales can be a tough job. The reasons why it’s tough can range from the people who want a product but can’t stand dealing with salespeople to poor support on the part of the employer and many other reasons that we won’t get into here. But what is completely undeniable is that everyone in the country probably knows someone who works, or has worked in sales. Unfortunately, it’s usually only other salespeople who can truly understand what it’s like to work in the industry. So while your salesperson wants to communicate with you as much as possible, there are some things they just can’t say to you. Here are ten:
1) Don’t say you’re coming back if you’re not – One of the biggest learning experiences that new salespeople go through is dealing with customers who promise that they’re going to come back, or call back and then never do. When you first get into sales, you tend to believe the customer and get excited about a sure thing. But over time, you learn that until the paperwork is signed, sealed and delivered, nothing is certain. But for some reason customers think that leading salespeople on is the right way to go about doing business. We would much rather have someone say that they’re not interested and move on than be left in limbo.
2) It’s unlikely you know more about the product than I do – As salespeople, we are trained to allow the customer to speak, and our job is to listen. But oftentimes, customers do some cursory research online and automatically believe that they’re experts on a particular product before coming in to buy it. Which of the following do you think is more likely; the person who deals with the product every single day and explains it every single day knows more, or the person who read an article for a half hour before coming in knows more? Exactly.
3) I can’t control everything – Despite what the general public believes, a salesperson is rarely in control of the most important decisions that happen before, during, and after a sales transaction. Salespeople rarely dictate the price (although they may have some wiggle room), they don’t design or fulfill the products, nor do they set the terms of the transaction. Usually the only thing a salesperson has actual control over is the presentation of the product and some negotiating room to close the deal, although in the vast majority of cases they have to go to their manager to get approval.
4) Don’t waste my time – If there was one thing every salesperson wishes they could say to a customer right after introducing themselves, it’s this. The vast majority of a salesperson’s time is spent contacting prospects, answering questions, qualifying deals and negotiating terms. We absolutely do not have time to deal with people who have no intention of buying and are just looking for someone to talk to or killing time with random inquiries. Respect salespeople’s time the same way you would respect the time of any other profession. The only difference is we aren’t allowed to charge you for it.
5) If you’re nicer to me, you’ll get a better deal – For some strange reason, millions of people believe that being rude, abrupt, or combative with a salesperson is going to somehow get them a better deal. Yes, there are the rare occasions when a customer who complains endlessly will get some sort of break, but it’s the kind person who treats salespeople with respect and dignity who will get the better deal 9 out of 10 times. There’s an old expression that you can catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.
6) Your expectations are completely unrealistic – Every single salesperson knows what it’s like to deal with customers who are so detached from reality in what they’re looking for that it’s almost impossible to bring up facts. People come in or call looking for deals that literally don’t exist anywhere on this planet and then get upset when you can’t satisfy them, or they start telling you about their friend’s cousin’s brother who paid a certain price that sounds completely absurd. If you want to negotiate on a deal, you at least have to start from a point that deals with reality, not some imaginary deal you thought up in your own head.
7) I get lied to constantly – While everyone accuses salespeople of being dishonest, ask any salesperson how often they get lied to themselves and you’ll be blown away by their answers. Salespeople are lied to almost every single day. Customers think that to get better deals they need to play some sort of game that involves hiding information, misrepresenting themselves, and making promises that they’ll never keep. Unfortunately, this complicates most buying and selling transactions as when one person is being dishonest, whether it’s the salesperson or the buyer, the deal is no longer up front and neither one is on equal footing.
8) I want you to be happy – Salespeople aren’t looking to just make a buck off you, although it is absolutely the primary reason why most people get into sales. But every salesperson loves it when a customer walks away happy, because it allows them to feel good about themselves, and feel like they’ve contributed positively to the world. I don’t care how cynical of a salesperson you are, how beaten down over the years, there is nothing that feels better than making a sale, and having the customer walk away from the table with a smile on their face and singing your praises.
9) Your deal could mean the difference between getting paid and not getting paid – It’s the harsh reality of sales. Not every company pays employees on every deal. This can be because the company offers a commission-only pay plan, or because there is a company minimum in order to get paid, or monthly or quarterly quotas that can mean the difference between a minimum wage check and a living wage. Sometimes, the salesperson is trying so hard to get your business because it might mean the difference between them being able to buy their children the christmas presents they asked for this year.
10) I’m not a scumbag – This one comes with a caveat; yes, some salespeople are scumbags. But you know what? Some lawyers are scumbags, some priests are scumbags, and some doctors are scumbags. Every profession has it’s unsavory people, because some people are bad people, whether they work in sales or not. But the average salesperson is just looking to make an honest living and provide for their families the best way they know how. Some salespeople are the most honest people in the world, and take great pride in never embellishing or stretching the truth even one bit. So the next time you’re dealing with a salesperson, don’t assume the worst.
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