Sellers Keep Your Cool


Published on

No salesperson ever sets out to give a buyer the hump, but that is what appears to be happening with increasingly regularity. Sellers are making obvious mistakes that can result in immediate disqualification. In this article we will provide you with sales tips that will help you to avoid being shown the red card by the buyer.

Published in: Economy & Finance
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Sellers Keep Your Cool

  1. 1. Retail Price: $4.99Even If Its Not Going Your Way The Golden Rule Is:Sellers Keep Your Cool!How To Avoid Being Shown The Red Card By The Buyer “Sellers are making obvious mistakes that can result in No salesperson ever sets out to give a buyer the hump, but immediate that is what appears to be happening with increasingly regularity. Sellers are making obvious mistakes that can disqualification.” result in immediate disqualification. In this article we will provide you with sales tips that will help you to avoid being shown the red card by the buyer.
  2. 2. Hot-Headed Sellers Are Shown The Red CardAn increasing numbers of sellers are unwittingly rubbing buyers up thewrong way.They are putting the buyers nose out of joint (so to speak) byquestioning their process and second guessing their logic, orimpugning their motives.The offending sellers are scuppering not just this sale, but anyprospect of a future customer relationship by:  Lashing Out At The Buyer  Shooting The Messenger  Having The Last Word  Making It Personal  Fighting Against The System. “Getting aggressiveLets examine each one in turn and how it can be avoided. or abusive with procurement is aLashing Out At The Buyer red card offense...”We have listened with great surprise to buyers recounting incidencesof seller cattiness, or aggression. That is where salespeople haveunwisely vented their frustration at the process, or disappointment atthe result on those in the firing line − buyers.It is procurement that gets it in the neck from suppliers and personallyI have had enough, said one procurement manager. The sentimentswere echoed by many more.Another exasperated buyer warned that getting aggressive or abusivewith procurement is a red card offense.Salespeople under pressure do stupid things and having a go at thebuyer is a good case in point. As one buyer put it Ok, salespeople areunder pressure to meet target, but taking it out on a supplier is onlygoing to make things a whole lot worse.P a g e |2© The ASG Group 2012
  3. 3. So, you lost the bid, get over it, exclaimed another buyer. I did notget it my way, so I am going to throw a tantrum. Deal with it in amature fashion, she continued.There is always the next bid to win, however if you lash out at thebuyer you can forget about getting the next project either, saidanother buyer. Be warned we have long memories − we wont forget,the manager concluded.The clear warning repeated by many buyers is that aggressive,abusive, or catty behavior will result in a severe penalty for the seller −one that could have consequences far beyond the next sale. As manybuyers pointed out it will scupper not just this sale, but the chancesof any future sale.Lashing out at the buyer also means that the seller is unlikely toget any help in understanding what happened, or what to do next.That includes why the deal was lost and how to ensure success inthe future.It is like how a spoilt child would respond − throwing a tempertantrum when he/she does not get what he/she wants, said anotherbuyer.We are used to legitimate inquiries, even objections, said one publicsector buyer. He continued: We live in fear of the remedies directiveand are no longer surprised when a supplier brings a legal adviser tothe formal de-brief. Contesting the decision, if done in a professionaland business-like manner is fine. That is business, so to speak. Whenthe seller lashes out and makes it personal that is another matter.Shooting The MessengerProfessional buyers complain that they are increasingly the target ofseller abuse. Dont shoot the messenger, just because you dont likethe message, was the advice of one procurement manager. Theprocurement manager might be the soft target, but he, or she wasP a g e |3© The ASG Group 2012
  4. 4. unlikely to have been the ultimate decision maker, added themanager.A cross-department team of up to 6 people was involved in makingthe decision. Dozens of others were consulted and ultimately thepurchase was signed off at board level. So, why is the unsuccessfulbidder pointing the finger at the procurement manager? asked theprofessional buyer. “There is a need among salespeopleThe reality is that many professional buyers have a certain degree ofempathy for sellers. No more clearly is this the case than in the public for a little moresector where buyers are all too aware of the demands that rigid buyer empathy.”procurement practices place on vendors and particularly smallerindigenous vendors. In private they are almost apologetic, but inpublic they have no choice, but to stand by the process.Sellers dont have a monopoly on frustration, it is keenly felt by publicsector buyers too. So, hitting out at the buyer is not only futile, butoften unfair. There is a need among salespeople for a little more buyerempathy.Having The Last WordSurprisingly, some salespeople make the mistake of telling the buyerhe/she has made the wrong decision, even hinting that they mayregret it. However, as buyers point out it is the seller that ends up fullof regret.Lets face it youre wrong! is something that a buyer absolutely doesnot want to hear. Nobody wants to be told that they have made thewrong decision, particularly when the decision has taken months andhas involved lots of analysis, as well as people.P a g e |4© The ASG Group 2012
  5. 5. The chance of the jilted supplier saying something that changes thebuyers mind is very slight. The chance that it will improve the buyersopinion of the seller is even lighter still.As one buyer explained We believe that we have made the rightchoice, when we see how a vendor behaves when they have not gotthe sale makes us convinced that we have made the right choice...Once more, it smacks of being a real sore loser, added the buyer.The advice for sellers is to go away and cool off because in the heatof the moment they are likely say and do things that they will come toregret.Making It PersonalHell had no fury like a salesperson scorned, joked one buyer. Thepoint was a serious one however. Most salespeople dont likerejection and they dont deal with it very well.The salesperson has invested heavily in the sale, over a period which islikely to have spanned many months, if not quarters. It is aninvestment that is not just financial, but emotional.So when something happens that threatens to undermine all thateffort it is not surprising that the salesperson reacts, rather thanresponds. That is to say he/she reacts emotionally, rather thanlogically, taking it not just as personal, but a professional setback.The advice from buyers is dont take it personally, and dont make itpersonal. It is not personal − it is just a business decision,commented one buyer.Over the different stages of the sales process a relationship, orrapport has developed, this can and should outlive the individualtender/bid. So, dont scupper the relationship because of the sale.P a g e |5© The ASG Group 2012
  6. 6. Instead, look to the next sale and to the lifetime value of thecustomers.Fighting Against The SystemThere is a problem − buyers love rules, but sellers dont. But sellerbelligerence in the face of ever more rigid buying processes and “If you are notprocedures are a sure way to put the buyers nose out of joint. playing by the rules,Rule-makers and rule-breakers are at opposite ends of the spectrum, you should not bein terms of personalities, attitudes and behaviours. When the two are playing at all.”brought together clashes are almost inevitable. However, buyers offera clear warning to sellers − reeling against the system wont work.As buyers point out The rules have been made for everybody andapply to everybody. For this reason trying to circumvent, or bendthem will inevitable cause buyer ire. That includes trying to gainfavour, or trying to go around, or over the head of the buyer.As buyers point out You have to play by the rules, if not then youshould not be playing at all. They are adamant that the oldrelationship or strokes approach to selling is dead.How To Avoid Getting The Red CardSellers need to be more zen-like. That is more calm and balanced intheir dealings with buyers. As one manager joked sellers, even whenunder great pressure, must possess the Ghandi-like qualities ofpatience and peacefulness! Above all they need to show greaterrespect for buyers and the importance of their role.We made a note of some of the many suggestions as to how buyerscould keep their cool and avoid getting shown the red card.P a g e |6© The ASG Group 2012
  7. 7. 1. Salespeople are typically assumed to be confident, maybe even brash. However, times (or more to the point buyers) have changed and seller humility is an increasing part of winning the sale. Sellers are increasingly required to bite their tongues and to put their egos in the back pockets. 2. As the advice goes − seek first to understand then to be understood. Develop your level of buyer understanding, or empathy. Engage with procurement, understand their role and their responsibility. 3. Draw the line between being assertive (as in standing up for your rights) and being aggressive (as in threatening the rights of others). Put respect, trust and parity of esteem at the center of your sales philosophy and adopt a genuine win-win attitude. This will greatly reduce the likelihood of a flare-up between the two sides. 4. Set the standard that you expect from buyers in your own behavior, by being open and honest from day one. That means addressing anxieties and concerns as they arise, rather than bottling them up till you explode. 5. Develop a fuller understanding of the buying process and procedures. Forewarned is forearmed − there is no point in getting surprised and exasperated by processes that are simply a matter of fact in a particular organization. In this respect good buyers are increasingly recognizing the need to tell vendors just what the tendering process involves, so as to enable them to make an informed decision to bid. 6. More important still keep the person who is emotionally involved, or hot headed under control at those particularly tense moments in the process. Make sure there is a balance of hot headed and even tempered on your team for theP a g e |7© The ASG Group 2012
  8. 8. opportunity in question. Ensure that de-briefs are undertaken by somebody who can be dispassionate and objective. 7. If you lose your cool, apologize and do it fast. Be the first to say you were wrong. That costs nothing. It does not compromise you either. Rather it shows that you have courage and character. 8. Hold regular account and opportunity reviews to discuss the next steps. This will provide a forum for salespeople to discuss “If you lose your their frustrations in a safe atmosphere and will ensure that they can respond in a considered rather than a reactive cool, apologize manner to events. and do it fast!” 9. Less said is easily mended. So, take a deep breath and count to 10 before hitting the send button too quickly. 10. Ask the buyer, in particular your sponsor, for his, or her advice in how to respond to challenging aspects of the buying process. 11. Remove some of the pressure… quarter end, year end… revisit probabilities and improve forecast accuracy... 12. Look out for early warning signals so that you dont get taken off your guard and end up in a situation in which you are likely to feel angry, frustrated. That inevitably means you must be prepared to walk away from some opportunities too.P a g e |8© The ASG Group 2012
  9. 9. The Science Behind This PaperThese insights and tools are based on:1. Buyer Research − our ground-breaking research into how modern buying decisions are made and the implications for sellers.2. Best Practice Research − Over 1 million pages of best practice sales case studies, books and research.3. Common Practice Research − Our peer comparison benchmark of 1,000s of your competitors and peers.The Sales Engine® and SellerNav are trademarks of The ASG Group.The entire contents of this document are copyright of The ASG Group and cannot bereproduced in any format without written permission.Want help in tackling your sales challenges? Contactenquiries@theASGgroup.comwww.theASGgroup.comP a g e |9© The ASG Group 2012