For years I worked in purchasing, as the sole agent in charge of supplying computer hardware and software equipment for a liberal arts college in the Midwest. I called vendor after vendor, seeking pricing on everything from single printer toner cartridges to bulk orders of personal computers. With the range of prices I received, I also was greeted with a range of sales styles. Most fell into two categories: pushy or pushover.
A Pushover answers sales queries with simple numbers and little more. He or she may supply a bit of data, but for the most part the Pushover is looking for the sell to happen of its own volition. Perhaps the Pushover feels he or she is being considerate by not occupying the potential client’s time, or it could be that the Pushover is unaware of the missed opportunities supplying pricing information without follow through creates.
Worse than the Pushover is a Pushy salesperson. Pushy talks at instead of with the customer, creating a hostile atmosphere rather than a conversation. Pushy does not listen to the customer’s needs and wishes and attempts to bully the potential client into making a sale. Pushy may be successful initially, but most customers will not continue doing business with people who make them feel uncomfortable.
What I know now that I didn’t know when I worked in purchasing is that there is a middle ground. A salesperson can be thorough without being overbearing. A salesperson can be taught and can learn how to communicate with clients on their level and to create a sincere conversation. By listening to clients’ needs, a salesperson or CSR can create an atmosphere and warmth and hospitality, leading to increased sales and long lasting relationships.
How can you tell if your staff has found the middle ground? The easiest way is to listen in on sales calls. It can be difficult and time consuming to do so on your own, which is why companies often choose to use outside sources, such as Molloy Business Development Group, to evaluate these calls independently. By using outside sources that specialize in customer service and sales, you can find whether your staff is in need of training. Better still, when a company has a tried and true method of assessing sales calls, you can benefit from viewing your staff’s improvement over time.
Many companies encourage pushy salespeople while others believe being a pushover is fine. Those companies that find the middle ground are the ones that are the most successful and have the most longevity. Assess your employees and find out which style is yours. Competency in language can be achieved, creating a strong sales style that brings in customers and profits.
Molloy Business Development Group has evaluated over 40,000 sales calls and provides mystery shopping, live sales call evaluations, and customer service and sales training across all industries and throughout the United States.