Respect is a powerful thing and one that seems to be getting lost in the sales process. Anyone selling anything, especially face to face, needs to show absolute respect to their customers. Over familiarity is irritating and a certain way to kill a sale.

So how should we show respect? I follow these rules when selling face to face:

  1. I always book an appointment. Turning up unannounced is rarely a good idea.
  2. I explain how much time I will need and I keep it as brief as possible, to show respect for their time.
  3. I work around the client's wishes--if they want to meet at 7 a.m., I meet at 7 a.m.
  4. I leave a contact number in case the client needs to change the appointment for any reason.
  5. I make a point of finding out as much as I can about the business before I get there.
  6. I arrive early, well presented and organized.
  7. If the person I am seeing is older than me, I call them Mr or Mrs, unless they say otherwise.
  8. I make a point of not taking more time than I said I would, unless the client specifically keeps me there because they want more information on the spot.
  9. I ask intelligent questions and I listen to the answers.
  10. I aim to give them what they want. If I can't give them what they want I tell them so on the spot.
  11. I advise them of what follow-up action I will be taking and when; for example, if I have to supply a quote, I will tell them when they will have it.
  12. I make sure that I get the follow-up material to them before I said I would.
  13. I contact the client to make sure they received the follow-up material.
  14. Even if they say they don't want my product, I always thank them, promise to keep trying if appropriate and I stay in touch.
  15. If the client gives me any confidential information I keep it confidential.

I know some of the above ideas might sound a little old-fashioned, but they work really well for me. It is my 'code of conduct' and I have been using it for over twenty years. Respecting other people is a choice and it does get noticed.

Sometimes we need to swallow our ego and that isn't a bad thing. I suggest you work out what respect means to you and come up with your own 'code of conduct' for any situation where you and your customer come face to face.