Try selling me on your service first

I had the opportunity recently to talk with a person who turned out to be quite a salesman. But, unfortunately, he was the type of salesman that give sales people a bad name.

The item I was interested in was a very complex item, not something that is stocked on store shelves or can be found anywhere.

I had already talked with several other sales people about the particulars of the item I wanted and most of the sales people were unable to help me due to the complexity and specific configuration of this item.

After having researched this item with several other sales people, I began to notice a trend. Grossly simplifying, I would divide the types of sales people I encountered into two types.

The first type of sales people are those who could do anything, find anything and meet my every need regardless of the complexity of the item and the specific configuration I needed. Anything was possible and instantly available. “Yes, we can do that!” was their favorite saying, with “no problem” coming in a close second.

The second type of sales people were those who would give me the extent of their knowledge and then offer to research anything they were unsure of or did not know. As I got into more detail about the item and configuration I wanted, I got more “I don’t know” and “I’ll have to check and get back to you” responses.

Now, which type of sales person do you think wasted my time and which provided me a real service?

It’s not hard to guess. From the first type of sales person I got any answer I seemed to want. Anything was possible and doable in the time frame I needed. The sales person knew everything there was to know about their product and had a ready answer for my every question.

And, as you may suppose, this type of sales person ended up giving me a lot of misleading information, incorrect information and even a few outright lies. They mostly wasted my time because they almost always over-promised and under-delivered.

So, did I purchase anything from this type of sales person? Of course not. Not only were they unable to help me find exactly what I wanted, but they wasted hours of my time in the process.

I never want to purchase anything from this type of sales person. After a few experiences with them it was clear that their only concern was to sell something.

They didn’t care if it was the right item for me. The sale was the most important thing to them and they would say and do anything to get that sale regardless of what was best for me, the customer.

Now, the second type of sales person is what I would call a sales & service person. As I would interact with them, it became more and more obvious that their primary goal was to make sure I found either exactly what I was looking for or the item that was most ideal for my needs.

They would try to understand my situation and my needs so they could find exactly the right product. They weren’t trying to sell me something that was close enough. They wanted me to have exactly what I needed (even if I didn’t know exactly what I needed at first).

This type of sales person spends their own time researching my questions so that they can provide accurate answers. This sales person will tell me when they can’t help me and will try their best to refer me to someone who can.

The key difference between these two types of sales people lies in their interest – self-interest or customer-interest. The second type is the most effective in the long run and often in the short run too.

When a sales person goes out of their way and spends time researching a product for you, you start to feel inclined to purchase from them. You feel comfortable, confident and then even obligated to purchase the item from the sales person who helped you the most.

Price will always be an important factor in your purchase decisions. But aren’t you more likely to purchase from the sales-person who has “gone to bat” for you, rather than the one who promised the moon and only delivered rotten cheese.

Even when they both deliver the same item, the obligation you feel towards the person who went out of their way to help you will win the sale almost every time.

Also, who do you think I am going to turn to for my next purchase? I won’t even consider the self-centered sales person, I will go right to the person who helped me and satisfied my needs, not his need to fill a quota (or his own pockets).

So if you are going to try to sell me something, sell me on your service first.

About the author
© Simple Joe, Inc.
David Berky is president of Simple Joe, Inc. a marketing company that sells simple software under the brand name of Simple Joe. One of Simple Joe’s best selling products is Simple Joe’s Money Tools – a collection of 14 personal finance and investment calculators. This article may be freely distributed so long as the copyright, author’s information and an active link (where possible) are included.