Manopenhandcuddle, Tadpole TrainingI’m a Salesperson – give me a cuddle please!
I don’t know what you think about people who sell for a living. Perhaps you think we are all pushy, gobby, dishonest, manipulative charlatans. I hope you don’t, but from comments I sometimes hear a fair few of you must think this. I want you to know that sales is an honourable profession. How many jobs do you know where you need to be persistent in the face of constant rejection, pleasant in the face of rudeness, knowledgeable about your own and your customer’s business, able to ask questions and uncover not only the dreams and aspirations of individuals but also discover their greatest fears and worries? Then to cap it all you need to be able to provide a solution in the face of scepticism and then overcome objections about price. That’s quite a lot people.
So next time you are confronted by someone trying to sell you something (assuming they are trying hard and at least moderately pleasant) then why don’t you cuddle them? I don’t mean in the literal sense, but you could do any of these things and at least you will make their day a little more sunny:

1. If you have an appointment, please be on time for it – the salesperson might have had to travel to meet you and although they will accept your apology with a smile, they won’t be feeling smiley on the inside.
2. Return phone calls. Of course you’re busy, but even if it is just to say ‘I’m not going ahead right now’, be courteous and don’t leave them dangling – call them back.
3. If you don’t want to go ahead, then say what your real objection is. Salespeople are quite tough and they can take the truth. Also, if your objection is genuine, then they might be able to provide a solution that solves it, in which case you both benefit. So please, be truthful.
4. If you are not the ultimate decision maker, let them know. Don’t sit there feeling all important and wasting their time. Tell them who else is involved in the process. They might like you, but this is work, not a social call.
5. If you want what the sales person is selling, but you don’t have the money, then it is OK to be honest about that. You won’t be judged. Most salespeople can be flexible and will bend over backwards to help you, because they come across this all the time (you’d be surprised how many customers don’t have the money!). If they know you really want what they are selling, they are on your side and will try and help.
and finally, although I hope you are basking in the warm glow of doing good to poor misunderstood salespeople, I have one more thought to throw your way if you are still not convinced.
In your own business, you too rely on selling. Perhaps you sell yourself, or maybe you have a sales team. Ask yourself honestly, would you rather your potential customers were nice or nasty to them? I am pretty sure I know your answer!
Janet delivers a range of ISMM training both in London and nationally.

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