Farquharson/Tedesco on Businesss Development: A Translation Guide for Sales
As salespeople, we hope that the meaning of our words are completely clear to our customers. However, it's not always easy to understand and be understood due to misunderstandings being misunderstood. Understand?
So, as a service, we present the following: a guide to help salespeople translate what is really being said by a client. Let's begin as we first aim to get an appointment...
The customer says: "You've reached the voicemail of TJ Farquharson. I'm sorry I'm not able to take your call, but if you leave a message I will call you back as soon as I can."
But the customer means: "You've reached the black hole of TJ Farquharson. Go ahead and leave your message, but unless you say something interesting, I will likely delete it within the first eight seconds. Neener. Neener."
The sales rep says: "Good morning! This is Chris Leonard calling again. Gosh, you must be awfully busy as I now have several voicemail messages in with you, you rascal."
But the sales rep means: "PICK UP YOUR #^%@$@ PHONE!!!"
Eventually, the customer says: "...Hello?"
But the customer means: "Dang, I didn't mean to pick up my phone. I was hoping your call would just go to voicemail like all of the others."
The sales rep says: "Oh, um, er, hi. I wasn't expecting you to pick up..."
But the sales rep means: "Because I was expecting it to go to voicemail, I've changed screens to check my e-mail and now can't remember who I've called."
Excellent! At least you are now talking to a real, live person! So, you make your pitch and...
The customer says: "To be honest, we already have a printer, so our needs are being taken care of."
But the customer means: "Yes, we have a vendor, but he's not doing a very good job. But I am not going to say this, either because I'm afraid of changing vendors or simply to get you off the phone."
The sales rep says: "Let me tell you what makes my company special..."
But the sales rep means: "Why don't you Buyers have open office hours every month to meet new vendors? After all, there could be some better solutions out there," or...
The sales rep says: "We are a full-service printer. Our service is second to none."
But the sales rep means: "I have absolutely no idea what our differentiator is."
Somehow, to your surprise, you earn an appointment. The meeting goes well, and you walk out the door one business card lighter, one business card heavier, possessing a job to quote. You were pleased when...
The customer said: "Okay, I'll give you a chance to price something for me."
But the customer meant: "You think I am throwing you a bone and an opportunity, but I'm actually throwing a tennis ball for you to fetch."
You take the piece back to your office, work up a price, and e-mail it to the client. You call to follow up. Voicemail. You call to follow up. Voicemail. Finally, the client picks up. Such a scenario is likely to end badly when...
The customer says: "Sorry, but your price is too high."
But the customer means: "There's a chance I could be holding the incumbent printer hostage and there's a chance I might just be testing you...," when...
The customer says: "Is that your best price?"
But the customer means: "How likely are you to drop your price? My guess is you will fold like a cheap tent."
You, however, are not fazed by this rebuke...
The sales rep says: "Well, that is my best price, but I believe I have an idea for you regarding an alternative..."
But the sales rep means: "Let me ask you something: Your Website screams quality and service and relationship with no mention of being a low-cost company. How is it that you can sell with one philosophy yet buy with a different one?"
To which the customer says: "Interesting. Let me give it some thought. Call me back in a few days."
But the customer means: "Fear. That is my main motivator. How can you make me feel comfortable making a vendor switch? Answer that and I am yours."
It's a game. A dance. Behind the words, almost always, is a different meaning. They say one thing but mean another. We often do, too. As a salesperson, you need to constantly consider not only what you hear, but the emotions behind the comment. They're not necessarily lying, but there may be more going on than meets the ears.
The authors say: "Thanks for reading our column."
But the authors really mean: "Now that you are smarter and better educated, get out there and sell something!" PI
About the Authors
T.J. Tedesco is team leader at Grow Sales Inc., a marketing and PR services company that has served graphic arts companies since 1996. He wrote "Direct Mail Pal 2012" and seven other books. Contact Tedesco at (301) 294-9900 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Bill Farquharson is a vice president at NAPL. Farquharson can help drive your sales. Visit www.aspirefor.com or call him at (781) 934-7036.