Is the sales process like dating?
I just got off the phone with my cousin. She’s in her late 40’s and back in the dating world after many years, but it seems like her early 20’s all over again. Is he in to me? Am I in to him? How will I know? Am I reading too much into this? Why can’t either of us just be honest about how we feel? It’s not you, it’s me. I’m not feeling the connection – even though our conversation and date last night were amazing and we’ve been talking the past two weeks straight.
Being a marketer, I can’t help but relate personal life to the business world. The conversations I hear from our sales team sound so similar. “I’ve emailed and called this lead 6 times. They said they were buying GPS tracking devices from me. They said our fleet tracking solution and product was perfect for them. Why won’t they just tell me if they aren’t interested? I would be better off not wasting my time (and theirs) if they would just let me know.”
I’ve been guilty of that myself in the business world. Just like in the dating world, we are so careful to not hurt feelings. This sales person gave me hours of their time. They answered all of my questions. Why can’t I be honest with them and just tell them I’ve found a better deal, a program more fit for my company or that we just decided to not move forward at this time? Wouldn’t this make business purchases so much easier? We are all so human.
Here are some tips to avoid this situation the next time you are either selling or purchasing a business solution or product (tip: you might even want to try this in your personal dating life too…).
1. It’s Not You, It’s Me.
That’s nice and all, you taking the blame, but it doesn’t help the seller. Be honest and tell the seller why their services or product are not a fit for you. It will help them potentially expand their service and future product development to meet the needs of their prospective clients. Or, it may end up leading to further conversation and reveal that the seller can actually provide you with what you need.
2. It’s Not the Right Time.
Okay, are you saying this just to dance around the real truth? Because if you are, just keep in mind that the sales person (if they’re good) will most definitely be contacting you in the future to see if it is the right time and then you’ll start this whole dating process over again. If you’re being honest, that’s great, but be prepared to answer the question of “okay, when can I reach back out to you?” and be honest about that answer too.
3. We’re Better Off Just Friends.
Please, for the love of everything, do not just string along the sales rep making them think you all are just the best of friends. This just leaves them more confused, hurts their ego because you aren’t buying from them, and gives false hope. See #1 so you all can move on.
Okay, ANY of the above are better than just saying nothing at all. In business, time is money and time is wasted if you aren’t interested and are never going to reply. Don’t want to say it over the phone? Just send an email. Here, I’ll even give you the words to copy: “Thanks for reaching out again. I’m sorry, we aren’t interested anymore.” See how simple that is?
So, if you’re in the process of making a buying decision, remember these tips. And if you’re on the selling side, use these tips to help prompt you with the right questions to ask the buyer.