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People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered.

Do you subscribe to the belief that people are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered? If you do, how often do you encounter this in your own sales practice and how do you handle it when you do? - by Community Mailbox
"Subscribing" to that belief sounds too much like an act of volition for me. Selling is a people business and people's minds, and, frames of mind, vary. A "one size fits all" approach to people at large, based on a preconceived notion implied in the topic's question, would not be realistic. - by Gary A Boye
Do you subscribe to the belief that people are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered? If you do, how often do you encounter this in your own sales practice and how do you handle it when you do?
Understanding that subjective reality is "subjective" I can see how one might view another person's behavior as unreasonable, illogical and/or self-centered. With that being said, in a typical selling situation if I find myself holding a similar view as the question suggests I like to remind myself of the subjective nature of reality and adjust my own thoughts. - by Jeff Blackwell
Whenever I do happen to come across customers or people that seem to possess difficult behavior I always ask me a question. That question is why? I always assume it is a defensive posture or barrier that is frequently derived from a past experience with others. I generally believe that people are good and are forced to re-act verse act and respond. It is my responsibility to build a door that we can walk through together. - by rich34232
Whenever I do happen to come across customers or people that seem to possess difficult behavior I always ask me a question. That question is why? I always assume it is a defensive posture or barrier that is frequently derived from a past experience with others. I generally believe that people are good and are forced to re-act verse act and respond. It is my responsibility to build a door that we can walk through together.
In my opinion, each of us goes through life in our own private reality. Because of the subjective nature of reality the reasons why someone behaves a certain way can be quite complex. Reactionary behavior in the form of "defensiveness" may very well be what is happening in certain instances. I try to keep my assumptions to a minimum to keep from tainting my own perspective any more than I already am.
- by Jeff Blackwell
In my opinion, each of us goes through life in our own private reality. Because of the subjective nature of reality the reasons why someone behaves a certain way can be quite complex. Reactionary behavior in the form of "defensiveness" may very well be what is happening in certain instances. I try to keep my assumptions to a minimum to keep from tainting my own perspective any more than I already am.
It is always good to keep your assumptions under scrutiny. Good post, Jeff. - by Gary A Boye
Jeff I absolutely agree that we have our own reality. Here is why I stated what I did. In my industry it is quite common that a new to me customer meets me at my vehicle,door, or garage and explains the problem then immediately requests a price to fix the item. I also have many people who call and want a "ballpark" price. It is also common practice to use multiple plumbers before a choice is made on who is my plumber in the consumers mind. Almost every customer has a plumber logo on the water heater,garbage disposal,magnet on the fridge or some other identifiable identification of previous competition that they have used. Knowing and understanding the industry you're in will help give you a leg up on your competition. I must have a good mental attitude in order to satisfy these inquiries.

Typically these consumers are placed in a category of tire kicker,time waster,price shopper.My thought process puts me into a different perspective. I refuse to place these consumers in a category that sheds a negative light. I place them in a category that forces me to examine,ask questions,discover reasons why they have decided their actions and reactions is the course to take.

It does not mean once I discover the reason that I stay focused in the wrong direction.As an example we have a customer who has used us 4 different times. The first person received a service charge and did not receive the work. The next 2 times the people we sent received zero dollars from the customer.

The 4th time I went. This customer was labeled as a time waster. Understanding my differences from other sales techs gave me a better opportunity with this customer. I observed her actions and I listened to her speak. I asked questions concerning her actions and words that allowed me to understand her motives and understand the difficulty the other sales techs had with communication. Not only did I receive the task I was called for ,I received 3 additional tasks too complete at the money I requested.

Why? I went in with a different perspective than any other person that has visited and invested time with this particular customer. My choice is to have some sort of plan that will give me the opportunity to succeed.

Sure there are customers that are price shoppers and I can qualify them at that time. However I must first meet him or her and decide what course of action is required.What is quite different in my industry most of the time when I receive a call for help the problem did not just occur and I must discover the motive to get it taken care of now.

I hope this makes sense of what and why I have stated what I did.If not let me know and I will see if I can add more clarity. - by rich34232
There is a common thread that joins labeling with assuming, i.e. tire kicker, time waster, etc.

I know my market, and I know my competition. I'm not blind to some of the latter's follies but I also know I'm more schooled in the practice of selling than most. However, I still will not allow myself the luxury of assuming that my competition is weak in any given sales opportunity. Once you assume that, you become too comfortable.

I'm sure there are people in the plumbing industry that that are very good at sales---selling the right products and service for the right reasons.

I'll go back to what I said earlier. Selling is a people business. In my case, I sell "up close and personal." That precludes labeling. - by Gary A Boye
I will keep your perspective in mind . I do need more from both Gary and Jeff and that is how do you go into a call mentally if you are not assuming something? I realize you have an initial phone call to discover quailifications and remember I do not. Our call center is told to book every call and let the sales tech sell the call.The qualification process happens in the home/business of the client.

Gary you are 100% correct there are some that can sell. They do not determine my efforts with the customers or what I do. My failure rate is never the same each month, it will float between 1-5%. 5% being a bad month. The comeptition is ony relevant to me with the 1-5%. I would say this is more confidence than comfortable. - by rich34232
I have learned that prospects who rely on assumptions are far less prepared to make good buying decisions. I also learned that salespeople who rely on assumptions are less prepared to make good selling decisions.

Top salespeople, however, often rely on recognizable patterns in buying behavior, and, are able to guide the engagement accordingly. - by Gary A Boye
I have learned that prospects who rely on assumptions are far less prepared to make good buying decisions. I also learned that salespeople who rely on assumptions are less prepared to make good selling decisions.

Top salespeople, however, often rely on recognizable patterns in buying behavior, and, are able to guide the engagement accordingly. -Gary A Boye
I think there is a misunderstanding. I am not suggesting keeping a one track mind and using the assumption as the only tool for success. The sales person will crash and burn. The assumption is used to keep an open mind and to try to look at the situation from a different point of view. Absolutely you must have recognizable patterns in behavior. I am an advocate for motives, moods, and personalities to discover why the customer wants to buy at this time. I have never met a sales person that did not assume how a call will go and how they want the call or opportunity to go. This by no means suggests that the assumption must be followed 100%. The same with prejudging a customer, go ahead an prejudge all you want however throw the prejudgment out the window and discover real things yourself.

I am not sure if other industries receives this type of customer; How much is it, my toilet is doing this how much? The customer meets you at the end of the driveway and starts to tell you what a certain product is doing and say why is It doing that and how much? Before you come out give me a ball park idea of how much? I need this done how long will it take and how much? My water heater is not heating why and how much? There is a reason the customer will not let you look at it and make a diagnosis.

My question is why do people ask these type questions? I must ask myself this question and be prepared to answer any questions my customer may have or entertain.

Keep in mind YOU do not have contact prior with this person and have never met them to discover recognizable patterns for a predictable outcome. You are meeting them for the first time at the end of their driveway. Your first questions are derived from assumptions. The first thing you must do as a sales person with this type customer is build a little trust with your professionalism and knowledge. Build a door where both of you can walk through allowing you to see the problem and ask the right questions to discover a long term solution. Once the doorway has been built the sales person must move on to the next cycle or step in the process. - by rich34232
I have never met a sales person that did not assume how a call will go and how they want the call or opportunity to go.
For over three decades my conversion ratio was among the highest, if not THE highest, in my industry. I have never assumed how a call will go. My "want" was not based on assumption either. Instead it was attached to a high regard for preparedness which I consider the most important skill in selling.

In any strategic endeavor, and selling at master level IS strategic, assumption can count for loss. - by Gary A Boye
I can imagine a person allowing the assumption to become a loss. That would account for the weak sales people in all industries. I practice ‘what the mind can perceive it can achieve’. I will perceive options in my mind when I am visiting customers. I will think out or map out a plan that will include causes of the problem, solutions to those causes and how I will present to the customer. I mentally prepare for the things I know and am prepared for unexpected turn of events. By no means am I stuck in the mud with no way to get out of the mud.

Perhaps my use of the word assumption is not the correct word as the assumptions are based on my experience and knowledge of my industry, products, and interactions that will lead to a predictable outcome. I have the ability to diagnose properly with descriptions of a problem and with my ability to ask questions that the lay person can understand and will give me the information necessary to diagnose properly.

I would say the word assumption is not the right word and it is more of a calculated risk that has high rewards. - by rich34232
Perform a pre mortem, Rich. The next sale you lose---why will you lose it?

THIS is the true essence of sales strategy. Very few understand. I wish somehow I could encourage more people to do that. - by Gary A Boye
I practice ‘what the mind can perceive it can achieve’.
That is your practice. Inasmuch as you spent time posting here about it, I'll comment.

Napoleon Hill, who had a huge influence on millions of lives, my own included, said something quite different in meaning.

He said: "What the mind of man can conceive and believe, It can achieve."

To conceive is to originate, to form, to cause to begin.

To perceive is to become aware of directly through any of the senses.

I can think of a lot of things that I perceive, i.e., watching a wide receiver score a winning touchdown in the NFL, that I can't achieve.

I could perceive a problem, and I may or may not have the ability to solve that problem

On the other hand, I could conceive a methodology or process that could lead to solving that problem as it occurs. That's called creative work ,and, the Intention, or, what Hill called Definitiveness of Purpose, would kick into gear.

My own life experience supports what Hill said. - by Gary A Boye
Most salespeople attempt to engage and sell every prospect that has an apparent need for their product or service. That may be why this thread is getting so much attention.

However, we know how to find prospects that are ready, willing, and able to buy. So, we don't spend time and energy trying to figure out the psyche of the tough ones.

I try to treat everyone (prospect or person) with Trust and Respect. Most people reciprocate and some do not. In the latter case I disqualify them as prospects and move on. - by JacquesWerth
Gary good question and one I have the answer. First I do not lose to my competition. My competition is not relevant to e or my customer. I lose the sale due to 1 of 4 reasons that amount to one logical conlusion.

The 4 are:
1. Something I have said
2. Something I have done
3. Something I have not said
4. Something I have not done

It is all about communication and how effective I am communicating and expressing ideas that my customer can understand and accept while defending their emotion and logic.

The best thing is it does not have to be perfect in my eyes however it must be perfect for the customer with the description of perfection in thier hands. - by rich34232
Gary good question and one I have the answer. First I do not lose to my competition. My competition is not relevant to e or my customer. I lose the sale due to 1 of 4 reasons that amount to one logical conlusion.

The 4 are:
1. Something I have said
2. Something I have done
3. Something I have not said
4. Something I have not done

It is all about communication and how effective I am communicating and expressing ideas that my customer can understand and accept while defending their emotion and logic.

The best thing is it does not have to be perfect in my eyes however it must be perfect for the customer with the description of perfection in thier hands.
If you were able to reveal what those "somethings" were, the post might have more meaning.

Your post would be better suited to a personal blog, or personal diary, rather than SalesPractice where we are looking for information on how to compete in the real world of selling. Here it could be taken as a counter example from your personal experience where the existence of Competition is denied. The selling arena most people work in is hugely competitive and most successful professionals here share their thoughts from a competitive arena.

It would be very difficult for me to believe that, as a representative of a plumbing company, you are not being compared to experiences your prospects have with other plumbers, or other tradesman. THEY rank among your competition. - by Gary A Boye
Gary

I understand what you have stated however I lose the call due to me not my competition. I am in front of the customer not my competition and it is my duty to make it a different experience than they have received from others.

The 4 items I listed generally happen when I miss one of my steps of the process and I take for granted the customers knowledge of why I do what I do , what I do for him or her and how I do it for him or her. - by rich34232
Rich, I edited out some of your post which was more applicable for blog or personal diary because it contained highly subjective material. I do agree with the points in the remaining two paragraphs and have included them here because they address customer perceived experience, and, the importance of not skipping steps. These are things we want to teach here. - by Gary A Boye
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