Recently my wife and I allowed a window salesman to visit our home with the hope of receiving an estimate. Our windows were aging, and we were interested in what it would cost to replace them. The company was reputable and promised a high-quality product backed by an industry-leading warranty. They were certainly a vendor I wanted to investigate. The only problem? Once I told the salesman that I had had enough for one day, he refused to leave!
And he had had ample warning. Upon his arrival, I had explained that I had guests coming over that afternoon and could spend 30 to 45 minutes with him. After 15 minutes of product demo and company information, I said, “You have sold me on the quality of your product and the reputation of your company, so let’s talk about pricing.” But 45 minutes later, I still had not seen the price. And now I was out of time.
As the meeting approached the 90-minute mark, both my temper (and window expertise) had reached new heights. I stood up and said, “Thank you very much for your time. Your presentation was excellent. I am interested and will review the costs with my wife within the next week and provide you with a decision. I know you hoped for a decision today, but this is a purchase we will need more time to review. I look forward to speaking with you next week.”
I thought this was polite, candid and reasonable. As a fellow salesperson, I understood that he wanted a quick result, but he should have accepted the promise of a prompt decision and stepped back. He declined my offer to help him pack up his demo materials, so I joined my wife who was upstairs preparing for our guests. Fifteen minutes later I returned to find him lingering on my porch. Fellow salesperson or not, I found this to be ridiculous.
I reminded him that we had guests arriving and that I was not prepared to make a decision today. He responded by stating that his manager had approved better pricing if I would sign before he left. Did he not hear me? Was I not direct enough? At this point, my wife stomped out onto the porch and said, “Our guests will be here any minute, and you need to leave!” He was stunned and immediately complied.
So what can we learn from this character? Several things:
- Respect your prospect’s time constraints.
- Do not be intrusive.
- Do not abuse your invitation into someone’s home.
- If you cannot get a decision, don’t push. Instead, talk about next steps.
- When asked to leave, go!
Next time you are trying to close a deal, remember to avoid the window salesman’s blunder. Treat your prospect with respect, listen to his words and nurture your budding opportunity instead of trying to yank it out of the ground before it’s even taken root.
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John Scranton is an insurance agency marketing expert and vice president of StartUpSelling, Inc. which helps small businesses with lead generation, sales, marketing, website design and branding. For more information and tips from John, visit www.StartUpSelling.com, or go to his blog at http://startupselling.com/blogs/johnscranton.