After being in contact with customers and potential clients for a year, the most valuable lesson I have learnt is time management. Much to do but little, too little time. So why wasting our precious time on things that will lead to nothing? We should all adopt this way of thinking, both the sellers and the buyers. But unfortunately this is not always the case.
Buying and selling: equal and opposite action-reaction force verbs. We are talking about the same activity: equal interest, in the end the exchange is fair (or at least it should be), equal devotion to the cause. This means giving a certain number of hours, a certain care to the exchange that will then be officialized by an agreement, formal or not, between the two parties.
But what I have too often noticed is that one of the two parties does not realize the equal, but opposite, energy that the counterpart is putting for the success. Of course, I feel more prepared to explain my point of view: that of the “bisiniss girl” 🙂
The first contact
I would like to start from the first contact, the moment when you really “meet” for the first time. The moment when you call another person who might be interested in the product you are offering or when you send out the first e-mail. Normally, who proposes the product will make sure in advance that he or she is not disturbing the other person. A good practice is to always ask if this person actually has 2 or 3 free minutes to dedicate to a call or an e-mail. My advice to you: if he or she does not ask immediately, stress it now!
I would like to point out that I have written person and not prospect, lead or similar distant terminology. It’s worth remembering that on the other side of the phone there is always another human being. So, hanging up violently, being impolite or rude will inevitably affect the other’s day. In short: your mood is no more important than others’.
And to find support in other people’s words, I would even bother Jesus in the Gospels!
Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these. (Mark 12:31)
You don’t have to necessarily “say yes”. It’s okay to refuse, as long as you give an answer, and it’s human, kind. I can assure you that the other party will perfectly understand the “no”, so that everyone can devote their day to more profitable things.
Listen to the other
You believe that “the customer is always right”? That everything we hear from the mouth of potential customers is extremely smart, innovative, full of meaning? If only you knew how much time I have wasted on answering hundreds of useless questions! But an ethic rep, or simply a sensitive person, would never dream of telling a client to get lost, to answer him roughly, to snub her. Every human being has the right to be heard, whatever they want to say: after having briefly (or for longer, this is the interlocutor’s choice) heard, you have full power to say “yes” or “no”.
Looking at it from an opportunistic point of view: we cannot know what the other has to say. What if they carried a brilliant idea, an incredible innovation, or just something beautiful that we can see ourselves into? Without listening even for minute, we could never know it, and we will go back, stressed and frustrated, to our daily cage without being able to enjoy a new glimmer of light.
During a meeting
I just want to write a couple of things on this: if you have cared enough to agree on a meeting, let the minutes or hours be as productive as possible for both parties. In fact, I often wonder: what’s the sense of leaving your work or pause your daily activities to be inattentive, distracted, approximate towards the other?
Since both sides have decided to share a few minutes of their lives for a common end, may they be significant! Otherwise, better to say NO!
After a meeting
After weeks, often months, through phone calls, meetings, e-mails, meetings with colleagues, the answers to a possible cooperation can only be two: “yes” or “no.” All other variations are just fearful nuances of these two. So that sellers do not waste their time with someone that will not buy, and buyers do not waste their time with useless emails and follow-up phone calls that won’t bring them anywhere, take some time and reach one of these two finish lines: “yes” or “no”.
Many, many people do it every day, it can’t be that difficult 🙂 And if it is for you, ask for advice: from colleagues, acquaintances, family, even those who would like to sell you the product in question. Sooner or later the answer will come out.
But putting this response on hold is a symptom of two things: lack of education (would you ever turn your back on someone who just asked you a question in real life?) and lack of respect for your own time and others’.
Be respectful towards yourself and others: dedicate a few minutes of your life to what others say, and give them an answer. Magic happens only with interaction! So if you just cannot say “yes,” please say NO!
Ps: I have unfortunately noticed in these months that the Italian counterpart is much, much more inclined to the lack of education and respect towards others. It happens to me that often people, who have no reason or position to feel superior, claim the right to ignore or mistreat me and my colleagues. It was the Italian reactions that inspired this post. To them I want to dedicate this quote, with a smile:
Nun sputa’ ‘ncielo ca ‘nfaccia te torna (“Don’t spit into the sky, because it will fall back into your face”, the Neapolitan version of the well-known karma).
Pps: No one wants you to say “yes” at all costs! In my opinion, few but well-selected customers are better than many customers but dissatisfied. Although, if the other party becomes insistent on the verge of rudeness, then I understand a bit if you choose to repay them the “favour” 🙂