Peddler to Partner

Joe, a few months ago, I received a call from a manager at a  station that had undergone considerable sales turnover. The manager relayed to me a seller’s experiences with an upset client. The new seller, who was a seasoned vet, was meeting a client for the first time after taking over the account from the previous seller who had left after a short time. The new seller was sitting in a room, and heard the client say to her underling outside in the hall, “Now you can learn how to deal with sales people!” The client entered the room and began to berate the new seller, blaming him for everything from copy that was running incorrectly to the bad weather. The tongue-lashing was so bad that the next day the seller received an apology note from the client’s underling!

But this new veteran seller wasn’t done. He returned the next day and met with the client again. The client began her tirade again. But this time, the seller stopped the client in her tracks by following 3 simple steps:

  1. The seller apologized again. But the apology wasn’t just “I’m sorry.” The apology was: “I’m sorry. We should have done / shouldn’t have done ‘X’.”
  2. The seller then asked, “What can I do to make it up to you?”
  3. The seller then added: “Going forward, what do I need to do to go from being a peddler to your partner?”

Needless to say, the seller got an earful because the client told him. But this seller listened and took copious notes. He kept asking “What else?” When the seller left, he had a clear and complete understanding of what this client needed.

The seller went back a few days later and handed the client something you don’t see very often in the business: a service guarantee. He had taken the client’s demands and placed those demands in a guarantee, signed by the GM. “You told me what you wanted. I heard it. I put it in writing so you could always grade my performance. I’m not going to ask you to buy anything until I can earn your trust with service. Fair enough?”

Here’s the great news: earlier this week, the seller landed his first buy from the client.

Do you have clients who could benefit from a service guarantee? If so, call or email me, and I’ll send you our service guarantee template. And if you’re looking for sales training and/or top-of-the-card revenue generation, let us know that too.