I’m about to let you in on what are probably the 2 most important sales lessons I’ve ever learned. And to demonstrate what those lessons are I’m going to tell you a (true) story about something that happened to me the other day, involving a business that completely tossed aside each of these lessons, pushing away my sale (and probably the sale of a lot of other angry customers).
I mean, it was bad. These guys could publish a book called: “1,001 sales-killing mistakes we make on a regular basis”
If you’re making these mistakes, this might be the most important thing you’ve ever read.
Now for the story…
The other day I was looking to join a gym. So I went down the street to a gym which had sent me a flier in the mail for $10/month membership. I mean, $10 a month – what can beat that, right? So off I went to see what this place was all about.
When I got there – it was perfect. Clean hardwood floors, a small crowd (I don’t like a lot of people around when I work out), and good equipment.
The only thing left was to discuss price. It turned out that to get the $10 a month deal, you have to put $300 down. That came as a bit of a shocker to me. I mean, I walked into that gym thinking I was going to spend $10, and somehow that became $300 – are they trying to lose sales?
–Which leads us to sales lesson #1:
Don’t have any “catches” – or if you do, say them up front. I read that flier over probably 5 times before going to the gym and couldn’t find one single sentence talking about $300 down. Catches lead to customers feeling like they’ve been cheated, ripped off, and scammed.
But here’s the real lesson… When you admit that there’s a catch, and you come clean, you build trust and rapport with your customers because they feel like you’re confiding in them.
The flier should’ve said…
“$10 a month gym membership”
When you put $300 down on a membership, your monthly fees are just $10. Our normal rates, and the rates of every other gym around, are around $110 down and $35 a month. So yes, you’re putting a little more down up front, but after just 6 months the membership pays for itself, and you have a $10/month membership for the rest of your life.
So if you know that 6 months from now you’re still going to be working out, staying healthy, and taking active steps toward a healthier, happier life – this is the membership for you.
Back to our story…
So after being thrown a curve ball, I wanted to check out other gyms and compare the rates. I told the guy I appreciated his time and I’d get back to him. He then said something that completely killed the sale.
“What’re you waiting for?” he said, and snickered.
“Sorry, what was that?” I asked, thinking I must’ve been hearing things.
He then let out a burst of condescending laughter (can you believe it?) and said, “What’re you waiting for? I mean, you said you were ready to go. So why are you waiting? What’s gonna change when you go home? Are you gonna magically make a decision?” or something like that. I don’t totally remember what he said because astonishment overtook me.
So I looked him in the eyes for a second, waiting for him to tell me he was just kidding. No dice. I then realized that this guy was seriously talking down to me! It’s as if he read a book on how to completely and utterly lose any chance of making a sale, and was using every tactic from that book.
–Which brings us to lesson #2:
There’s a time to come on strong and a time to lay back. He should’ve let me go – there’s a good chance I would’ve gone home, ran the numbers, and decided that in the long run it was the better deal. In fact, I definitely would have because when I checked out the other gym it was noisy, crowded, and more expensive. Instead, he pushed me to buy a membership, and came off as extremely rude (he snickered at me!).
Often, letting a customer go is a better tactic than keeping them around when they want to leave.
Yes, some customers won’t come back, but you probably wouldn’t have had their sale in the first place. But more often than not, the customers will come back, and they’ll be loyal and appreciative because you gave them the respect they deserve.
And they’ll tell all their friends about the great customer service you have, and before you know it, you’ll be getting boatloads of referrals, all because you were a breath of fresh air when it comes to sales.
Until next time,
p.s. What are some mistakes you’ve made in sales? And what did you learn from them? I’d love to know!