I used to work with a guy who made fun of the “positive attitude” people. “Oh, so all I have to do is have a positive attitude and I will sell everything I need to sell. I’d like those positive attitude idiots to come in here and try to sell some lumber in this market!”
I admit, I am one of those positive attitude proponents. But to me attitude is more than a state of mind; it is also a state of action.
Sellers often give all the power to the customer and then complain that the customer doesn’t treat them with any respect. How do sellers give customers all the power?
Giving up the Power
When we enter conversations with customers saying, “What do you want to pay?” and “What do you want to buy?” We send these messages:
- I don’t know anything – You tell me.
- I am too lazy to work for you – Mr. Customer – Please do all the work. – Tell me how to price my product. I am too lazy to even work up a price.
- Pay me as little as possible.
- Counter my price. (If I have even given one)
- Go for the juggler vein. (I don’t know anything- take advantage of me.)
- I am lazy – just give me a cheap price.
It’s amazing that these sellers continue to get mad at customers that give them no respect and bad prices. When we call a customer and say, “What do you need?” what we are really saying is,
“Mr. Customer, I’m too lazy to do any work for you, will you work for me? Will you tell me, what you want to buy, when you want it to ship and what you want to pay for it?”
This is not the attitude/action of the professional seller/partner. This is an employee attitude. Professional sellers share power with customers. The seller’s power is promotion. Offering product, solutions, and proposals to our customers is sharing power. We must do our part.
If we want our customers to treat us like partners, we have to bring value. If we come to our customers with a “What do I do now?” or “What I do next?” attitude/action, our customers will treat us as employees rather than partners.
If we have a business partner who starts each day by saying, “What do I do next?” it won’t take us long to buy this partner out. Why? Because this partner is not bringing value, or at least not partnership value. Our customers think and feel the same way. Our customers need and want partners, not another employee (salesperson) asking them what they need.
Why are we asking our customers what they need? Didn’t we find that out when we prospected them? (I detail how to make a great prospect call in my book, Selling Lumber, Sales Secrets of a Lumber Broker.) If we did give a good prospect call and we know what our customer uses, we offer those specific products on every call after the prospect call.
The Secret Benefit
When we promote product on every call we are, what I call, playing offense. We are acting and pro-acting. When we come to customers with the – “What do I do next?” attitude, we are playing defense; we are re-acting. Acting instead of Re-acting, playing offense instead of playing defense – whichever metaphor we choose to use – when we promote product we will feel better at the end of the day.
Yes, but does a good feeling get me the order? In the short (not immediate – short) and long term my answer is: YES, YES AND YES. Remember, in tough markets our customers are struggling also; they don’t need another whining salesperson telling them how tough it is. What they need and want is a positive force to come in the door or over the phone and tell them why something is a good deal for them!
Positive attitudes alone will not save us. We must hustle. (Action) We must prepare (Action). We must promote products, deals, proposals that benefit customers in a financial or business way (Action). But we also bring with us a spirit and attitude of positiveness. Our customers want to buy from positive, pro-active, promoters of product.