Improve Sales Performance Eliminate Weak Selling Approach

Recently, I sat down with a sales veteran who described his experience trying to win back previously lost accounts in a new territory. This is an all too common problem in sales: conquering the claim, “I’m happy with my current supplier.”

Do you have a cheaper price?

The man talked about having no luck breaking down the sales barrier. He told me, “People don’t forget when your company screws up.”

As we discussed the situation more in depth though, I found there were some obvious strategies and timing tactics that come into play that could have made a difference.

It is important to remember that once people go through the pain of changing suppliers, they are not likely to switch back immediately – unless the new supplier performs more poorly than you.

The salesperson’s first mistake was falling into “desperate mode.” Saying, “What can I do to get back in the door?” This put him in a powerless position and made him vulnerable to all sorts of problems. The biggest being that the sales approach of asking “What can I do?” tends to solicit the typical response – “Do you have a cheaper price?”

The man was begging to get the work back instead of using his knowledge base and the company’s core competencies to persuade the client from a position of power.

Here were my recommendations:

Though the salesperson’s timing was smart – since a year had passed and the client was not as mad about the poor service – the new supplier was also more entrenched and less likely to be kicked out.

So I taught him how to realign his company’s core competencies based on the person he is targeting, and encouraged him to initiate a conversation about the impact his company had on facilities to generate results.

I coached him on the importance of turning negative history with clients into a positive. By using “The New Guy” approach, the salesperson can explain what his company learned from the past and how those lessons will positively impact a client moving forward.

But the bottom line is simple” once a salesperson makes the shift from a mode of desperation to that of confidence, the client’s confidence will rise – and that is the number one reason people buy a product or service.