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The Ruby Group | Akron and Columbus, OH

The STORY:

“Hank,” asked Joanne, the office manager, “Did you get the message that Gabrielle Something-or-Other was headed down here around two this PM?”

Hank had just come back in from lunch and hearing the question, glanced at his watch.  It was now ten to two.  “No,” he replied.  “I was at lunch with Ray and Bob.  Do you have any idea why she’s showing up?”

Joanne, clearly annoyed, stood up so that she could see Hank over the counter, “I just take messages when salespeople disappear at eleven and stroll back in at one-fifty.  I don’t ask.  Since she asked for you, I figured you’d have some idea.”

“Well, I don’t . . . she’s been in a couple of times.  Who knows?”

“Can you believe her attitude?” stated Hank to his two luncheon companions.  “Why Harvey The-Headman keeps her on the payroll is beyond me.”

“Hey,” said Ray, “she was here before us; she’ll be here after us.”

A few minutes after two, Hank saw Gabrielle coming through the door.

“Gabrielle,” he called out with a wave, “what brings you down to my humble place of business?”

“I have a purchase order for five Model 198A-4s, and I’ve got about 15 minutes to spend.  What do we need to do?”

“All right, Gabrielle, I knew you were for real from the first visit.  Sit right down here.”

Hank took the purchase order from her and headed over to Joanne.  “Help me out,” he said to Joanne, “I need whatever to get this PO into our system.”

“Well,” said Joanne, “Harvey left the new PO forms on your desk two days ago.  Knock ’em dead.”

“Man, I have no idea how to fill them out,” he whined.

“That makes two of us, but you’re the salesperson.”

Hank headed back over to where Gabrielle was sitting.  “Seems like a little paperwork SNAFU has popped up.  Could you leave the PO with me and I’ll take care of it?”

“I can’t just leave the PO.  Why can’t we just fill out whatever?  How complicated can it be?”

“New forms, not sure where.  That sort of stuff.”

“You do have five Model 198A-4s, don’t you?”

The RESULT:

Hank may have blown the sale.

DISCUSSION: 

Prospects will put up with a lot from salespeople.  In fact, most salespeople wind up making the sale in spite of themselves.  Buyers have become used to salesperson ineptitude.  It’s something they have to put up with to get what they need.

However, everyone, you included, suffers buyer’s remorse.  Buy that new suit and tomorrow you open the paper and see a similar suit for $50 less.  The thought automatically crosses your mind, “Gee, should I cancel the order and go get that one?”  If it isn’t the suit, it’s something else.

Imagine what is going through the mind of the prospect if you are fumbling when the money is changing hands.  A full-blown case of buyer’s remorse is building right in front of you.  Gee, the prospect might think, if he’s not sure how to take the money, that gives me more time to change my mind.  Besides, I wasn’t sure anyway.

Fumble a bit longer and the thought comes to mind that perhaps you haven’t really sold me the right thing.  Am I making a big mistake?

In short, a tremendous amount of uncertainty over the about-to-be-completed purchase is building.  Very few people enjoy uncertainty, especially when their money is involved.  The easiest and quickest way to end the uncertainty is to stop the purchase.

Ever wonder why attorneys flock to house closings?  Forget their stated legal reason for being there.  The biggest emotional role they play is handling last-minute buyer’s remorse.  The banks make sure that someone is there who knows the procedures and forms that part the buyer and the seller from their money.

APPROACH:

The first task any salesperson should learn, even before product knowledge, is how to take the money.  If there is a form to fill out, memorize it like your life depends on it.  It does.

Need to process a bank card?  Don’t depend on the access code being taped to the wall.  Memorize it.

Multiple forms need to be filled out by various people in the new customer’s business?  Hand carry them.

Remember, it’s not closed until the check clears.

THOUGHT:

If you believe that your job is something else besides taking money, then you are not in sales.

©1995, 2007 Sandler Systems, Inc and TEM Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. S Sandler Training Finding Power In Reinforcement (with design) and Tactics for Sales Professionals are registered service marks of Sandler Systems, Inc.

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