Avoid These Six Common Selling Blunders

Do You Know What Your Customers Are Really Thinking?
by Bill Cole MS, MA

   Do you alienate and upset your customers without realizing it? If you were aware of doing these annoying things, you'd make sure to avoid them, right?
   Customers have choices. Don't give them reasons to de-select you from the never-ending race with your competitors. Don't make simple, needless relationship errors that turn customers off. Give yourself every opportunity to succeed with every customer, especially early in the sales process, when they are unsure about considering using your services.
   These six all-too-common salesperson bad-manners gaffes are ones you will want to be aware of and strive to avoid in your customer transactions.

Don't make your customer do your work for you.
People will think you view them as a commodity.

   Don't Say This: "I have so many customers, I can't keep them all straight. Can you send me an email with your request? I'm on the run right now."
   What Your Customer May Think: "Oh, so you're busy? You've got a lot of customers? I'm just one of the masses? Then you don't need me. I guess I'm not very special."

Don't make your customer hold you accountable.
People will think you're unreliable.

   Don't Say This: "If I don't get back to you by the end of the week, do me a favor, call me. I'm really busy these days."
   What Your Customer May Think: "You want me, your customer, who you are trying to do business with, remind YOU to call ME back? You're so busy maybe you don't need any new customers."

Don't bad-mouth other customers, staff, vendors and associates. Do this and you'll destroy any trust the customer might have in you.

   Don't Say This: "I can't believe that last customer. That person is such a pain."
   What Your Customer May Think: "I wonder what you'll say about me when I leave."

Don't correct the customer unless you can do so diplomatically, keeping their self-esteem intact. Don't make people wrong.

   Don't get in a battle with the customer over who is right.
   Don't Say This: "No, that's not what I said. You didn't hear me right. You're getting me confused."
   What Your Customer May Think: "I think I know what I heard, but if not, at least I have the humility to admit I might be wrong, but I don't like being TOLD I'm wrong."

Don't make it seem like you are doing the customer special favors for routine matters. They'll resent that attitude.

   Be different from many salespeople these days and tell them it is a pleasure helping them and seeing them happy.
   Don't Say This: "No problem. I don't mind doing this favor for you, but this is not something I do for everyone, you know."
   What Your Customer May Think: "I'm glad it's not a problem, because I'd hate to ask you to do something you don't want to do."

Don't blame your customers. Realize that it is not your customer's job to help you sell them. You have to show them how eager you are to earn their business.

   Don't Say This: "You didn't call me back when you told me you would! I was waiting for your call!"
   What Your Customer May Think: "Does he not realize that emergencies come up? People get sick? Problems arise? Does he want my business or not? Who does he think he is?"
   Think before you speak. Ask yourself, "How could what I say be potentially misinterpreted by my customer? How could this be taken the wrong way? How could this backfire? If you believe your comments might be seen as negative, insulting or insensitive, don't say them. Stop making easily-avoided communication errors and you'll find and keep more customers--and they'll be thinking of you more often--in good ways.