Client Preference: Take What’s Offered
Have you ever had an interaction with someone where you felt compelled to share the story with others afterward?
Last week, I was contacted by a salesperson, and the communication between us was so interesting that I’m sharing it in hopes you find some useful tips to apply to your client interactions. It’s such a great reminder as to why the client preference should always come first.
Out of the blue, I received an email from a salesperson saying someone from his organization (that knows me and is familiar with Sales Maven) passed along my name and contact information.
Here’s his initial email to me (with a few minor changes to keep his name & organization private.
“… I’m one of the account managers here at the XYZ Company. I’d like to meet with you sometime next week and learn more about your business and see if there are other ways our company might be able to help you promote your business. I have time Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning. Which time would be best for you? I’m happy to come to your office.”
Here’s what was interesting enough to warrant my reply:
- the fact that he mentioned wanting to learn more about my business to see how he could help promote it (nice, he’s interested in helping me)
- that he gave me 2 possible times that he’s available to meet (hint, hint, this is crucial to your success in setting up meetings)
Based on those two things, I replied letting him know I’d be interested in setting up a phone call. However, the two times he gave me didn’t work in my schedule. I emailed that I’d be willing to set up a time to chat on the phone and gave him 2 options that worked in my schedule.
Here’s his reply to my request:
“I prefer to meet in person if possible (call me old school, but I find it harder to connect with someone over the phone). I am happy to come to your office, and I promise not to take up more than 20 minutes of your time. April 6th at 1:30 works for me.”
Based on his reply I was a little put-off. I’d let him know I preferred a phone call over meeting in person. For him to come back and tell me what he preferred sent the message he was more interested in what worked for him, instead of what worked for me (and I’m the potential client). Client preference should always come first.
My response back was that I’m not interested in meeting in person due to my busy schedule so I’d pass on meeting with him.
His reply to that was:
“Happy to meet at a Starbucks near you if that’s easier. And, as I said, I promise not to take up more than 20 minutes of your time. I’ll even set an alarm when I walk in the door.”
At that point, it felt pushy (were you on the live teleclass I offered last week Get More Clients Without Being Pushy? If not, you can still register and listen to the training).
Because of his reply, it seems he’s ignoring my requests. Had he replied we could set up a phone call, then I would have scheduled one with him. Instead, he continued to insist we meet in person.
It’s Not About Your Preferences- It’s About The Client Preference
Look, I know in sales, meeting in-person is generally more successful than email or phone conversations. However, when your potential client (with whom you have zero rapport) tells you they’re willing to give you time, and they prefer the initial conversation over the phone, set up a call.
Pushing back and telling a prospective client what you prefer is not only irrelevant, it’s a rapport breaker.
Had he agreed to the initial phone call, he would have had a chance to build rapport and create more curiosity about his service which then might have led to an in-person meeting and ultimately to earning my business. Instead, I decided it’s not worth my time and energy to engage with him.
Your Savvy Sales Tip:
Your sales tip is to take your cues from your prospective client. When they tell you they’ll meet with you over the phone, set up a phone call. When they tell you they prefer you communicate with them via text message, then text them. It’s your job to earn their business, not the other way around. It’s not their job to accommodate you and your preferences. It’s about the client preference.
Remember, make it easy for your prospective clients to do business with you. The easier you make it, the greater your chances of earning their business.
Wishing you continued success!
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