It can be truly frustrating when a hot prospect suddenly goes “radio silent,” or the customer who was in full “go” mode last week suddenly gets cold feet. Maddening customer behavior is a reality for the sales professional. How we handle it says a lot about our selling skills, and also has a significant impact on our long term customer relationships and future sales success with any given client.
As sales professionals, we know “punishing” undesired customer behavior is not an option; but that may not stop us from indulging in passive aggressive language/behavior from time to time. It is a tactic deployed most often in the form of customer shaming using terms like, ‘I thought we had agreed…” or “You haven’t replied to my last four emails…” Make no mistake, conveying to customers our disappointment or disapproval is never productive.
How sales professionals deal with rejection or disappointment is a telltale sign of our perspective and overall sales capability. The sales professional who takes disappointment personally is clearly operating in his/her own “Odds Are.” The sales professional who is focused on the customer and the success of the customer’s organization is better able to frame behavior in terms of its impact on the client, rather than on him/herself as the sales person or the vendor organization. When purchase decisions have been properly framed in terms of their potential benefit to the client, it is appropriate and even productive to advise as to the effect of delays or disruption in terms of lost opportunity for the client.
When it comes to guiding customer behavior, always use the carrot, keep your focus on maximizing your value to your customers, and positive results will follow!