Let’s briefly stroll down memory lane for a moment or two and talk about a small business owner. Let’s call him Chris today in honour of my teenage son, who recently reminded me yet again about how he knows so much about life compared to me, apparently! Anyway, I digress. Chris answers the phone in his business and is instantly bombarded by a sales consultant who he’s never met, whose company he’s never heard of, and whose product makes no sense to him in the context of his business.
This enthusiastic sales person launches into a pre rehearsed speech followed by whole range of questions about Chris’ business, staffing levels, product range, regular expenses and even turnover. At this point I can see all the business owners nodding their heads in recognition of having been in that very situation. OK, back to Chris. Chris waits until the sales person takes a breath and cuts in to end the call and hang up. Taking a deep breath, he turns around and smiles at a customer coming in the front door of his store. Unfortunately, it isn’t a customer but another sales person, and the process repeats itself, although this time it’s a bit tenser as they are face to face instead of on the phone.
Now, there are many reasons why these two conversations ended badly for the sales people. The business owners reading this blog will recognise instantly that the sales people didn’t earn the right of entry into Chris’s business. By that I don’t mean they didn’t get permission to visit. They failed on the fundamental level of establishing a basic rapport, and respecting the protective shield every business owner wraps around their business.
The initial and ongoing investment by every business owner is huge. Not just monetary investment, but time, effort, blood, sweat and many tears. Did I say ‘time’ already? Yes, I did. Huge, enormous and life draining time invested in the commencement and ongoing development of a business. A small business owner will protect their business like it’s part of the family, because they have so much emotional, physical and financial resources invested in it.
A small business owner needs to see that the salesperson respects the connection between them and their business. If they approach those initial conversations by showing an appreciation of the ‘investment’ the owner has made in terms of time, effort, and finances etc, they may earn the right of entry. They also need to show they are there to help (through a product or service) the owner continue the ‘excellent’ work that’s already been done.
Once rapport is established and right of entry granted, the owner is going to be more willing to discuss the inner workings of their business, its turnover, staffing levels, product range, points of difference and other aspects broadly categorised as ‘making the business tick’. At that point the sales person can sell the relative merits of their product or service against the needs of the business. Bashing at the door per se won’t get you entry. Getting to know your client, their business and what makes both tick will help you secure a deal.
Talk to me, the business growth and development specialist.
Present Professionally serves customers across the Toowoomba Region and South East Queensland. You can follow Anthony at https://au.linkedin.com/in/anthonyferro1 or view details at www.presentprofessionally.com.au and LIKE us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/PresentProfessionallyAustralia/
Written and Published by www.presentprofessionally.com.au