Are you in touch with your sales sixth sense?
by: Steve Gareau
If not, you might be taking on business you’ll regret it.
|We’re all aware of our five senses: sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing. There’s one more, talked about by many doctors, psychologists and educators. There must be hundreds of books about it, but we still know very little about its use inside us. But it’s benefited me in all my years of sales, and I’d bet you’ve come into contact with it as well.
It could be a feeling of uneasiness between you and another person, whispering to you, “Move on.” If you’re an employee, you may find your manager telling you to just deal with it, but the voice inside you says that there’s something wrong with the situation.
Yes, I’m talking about your sixth sense – in this case, your “sales sixth sense.” You may think that I’m just saying “Listen to your feelings,” but this is a tool that can help you achieve your sales goals -- if you learn to use it right.
Let’s say you’re with a prospective customer, and you can tell that they need your product or service. But then, uneasiness enters the room. If you can feel it, so can your prospects.
That’s your cue to bow out of the situation as gracefully as you can. Leave the door open for a return call at a later date, but for now move on to your next call.
Your sales manager may have other ideas – he or she might really want you to close that business. But true success doesn’t come through proving what a great conversationalist you are, the proof is how many orders you bring into your company and how profitable that business is. It could be that your sixth sense is telling you that this prospective customer would be more trouble than he or she is worth.
It is always better to spend your energy on positive sales calls with receptive clients than on situations your sales sixth sense tells you may become a problem. You’ll be meeting hundreds or even thousands of people during your career – you need to know when a situation will be a no-win one for you, so you can put your attention on those that will work.
If you want, you can return to the customer at a later date, to verify what you found out on your earlier call. If you’ve developed your sales sixth sense, you’ll be better equipped to handle any issues that come up.
Thankfully, I can’t say that this has happened often in my case. Once, however, I met with a prospective client and I had this sixth-sense feeling that I’d be best off without the business. I listened to that feeling and as I’ve said above, backed away.
Later, I had the chance to meet this man outside of a business environment. We both happened to participate in a tennis tournament and we both made it to the finals. I soon found out why that feeling had come to me in our earlier sales meeting. He had cold eyes and a look that would freeze the best of us. He was a true competitor, one who doesn’t give up easily. We played five sets that took over five hours. His will to win was all that mattered to him – and mine was about the same. This wasn’t “customer tennis” in which the customer just naturally gets to win. It was hard competition.
So, guess where that tension in our meeting came from? We both wanted to win. It would have been a competitive relationship, not the kind of cooperative one that succeeds for both companies involved.
So no, I never called on him again. It would have been a struggle right from the start. I was doing well enough at that point in my career that I didn’t need the mental challenge that comes from working with this type of customer.
Think about the kinds of people you work with well, or not so well. Think of the traits they have in common. Are they relaxed and easy going? Or, are they hard-driving and goal-oriented, so that one thing you like about them is that you can count on them to do what they say? Or, are there other things about them that you like and dislike?
It may sound negative, but you need to concentrate on finding out the character traits you really can’t stand. Find the real deal-breakers for you, because you’re then going to do your best to avoid these kinds of people. You’ll have greater success going with the flow than trying to swim upstream.
Learn to recognize these traits in people you see in business. Heed what your sales sixth sense is telling you and back away from situations that don’t work for you.
Steve Gareau is the author of Building Your Bridge to Sales Success, available at amazon.com. With more than 40 years of entrepreneurial and small business experience, Steve now works as a consultant, speaker, and business mentor. Visit Steve’s website at http://www.bridgeseriesbooks.com/.