Red Light, Yellow Light, Green Light…Go! If you were observing the traffic laws this is the order in which you would proceed while driving your car. Many sales professionals should approach their daily sales calls in the manner. I am sure you may be wondering what on Earth I am talking about. Before I dive right in, ask yourself a couple of questions about your last couple of sales calls, or if you are a manager, has your sales staff ever said this to you. “He just was not receptive to buying today” or “I thought I had him but he just was not listening”.
Maybe the problem is not that they were not “receptive to buying” or “not listening” maybe it was that your sales person or even yourself for that matter was not paying attention to the mood of your client. Why is this important? Because people will only be receptive to you when they are ready to, being able to read them and understand your client is just as much a part of your job as actually selling to them. Many young sale professionals do not understand this dynamic and how important it is to understand and read your clients before trying to hit that home run sale.
The first light as with any stop light is RED.
Let’s start with the “Red Light” in this scenario. If you were driving your car and you approach a red light, chances are you stop. Well, you need to STOP selling to your client if you feel that they are in a red light mood. How can you tell? Most people will definitely let you know when they are at this stage. The buyer is usually not interested in hearing your ideas, unless you are offering free money. Stop selling to them until you feel you have them at least to a yellow light. What are some reasons that people are at a “red light”? Well, you may have stumbled across them and they are having a bad day. It could be your fault or the fault of your company, or it could be that they just received divorce papers. Who knows, but it is part of your job to uncover the reason. You need to reflect and respond. Once you determine the reason for the “Red” whether personal or business related, then you need to go in the appropriate direction.
If the reason is business related, at this point you need to fix the problem. No matter what it takes, you need to become the “GOTO” guy in their mind, so that they know from here on out instead of dwelling on a problem and letting it fester until you walk through the door, tell them that you will always fix the problem. Once you fix the problem, whether you got the order wrong, poor customer service, or just screwed up the entire thing, make it right. They will respect you and buy from you again.
If they are just having a rotten day due to personal problems, don’t add insult to injury and pile on. While you want to be sympathetic, do not get caught up in the personal matter. Be understanding and offer an “ear” to vent, but try to avoid offering advice or fixing their personal problems. This could just back fire on you and you could lose the account altogether.
Sometimes, coming out of the red can be as simple as having polite conversation, speaking about whatever their favorite topics are, their family or letting them get off their chest about how much they hate vendors. Remember that we were all given two ears and one mouth, use them accordingly. Once we have them into the “Yellow Light” we can start to soften them up for the sell.