Face time with your customer is far too valuable to waste.
Customers hate it when you waste their time, even when it's partly their fault that you're wasting it, according to Jeffrey Seeley, CEO of Carew International. He points out that there are three common, time-wasting pitfalls that you should avoid when speaking with customers:
1. Letting the sales call turn into a chat session.
Yes, building a relationship is part of the selling process, and a little chit-chat can help a customer feel more comfortable. That being said, you're trying to forge a business relationship, not cultivate a new chum. Every sales call should either move the sale to the next step or identify what needs to happen before that next step can happen.
2. Trying to be your customer's therapist.
From a sales perspective, it's usually a good thing when customers open up and start talking about their job challenges. However, if a customer runs on about issues that aren't relevant, a sales call can quickly become (literally) pointless. It's up to you to guide the conversation into areas where you can actually help out.
3. Interrogating rather than discussing.
Some people become so aggressive in the quest to uncover information about a customer that they come off like police investigators rather than business people. Rather than throwing out a string of questions, have a conversation that gradually leads to a better understanding, on both sides, of what needs doing.
GEOFFREY JAMES writes "Sales Source on Inc.com," the world's most-read sales-oriented blog. His new book, Business Without the Bullsh*t, will be published in early 2014. To get weekly blog updates, sign up for his free "Insider" newsletter. @Sales_Source