Steve Nicholls’ article in the April issue of KBDN, “Tips for Avoiding Mistakes on the Jobsite,” offered great advice about how to eliminate or reduce mistakes on our projects. This got me thinking about how we, as salespeople, deal with challenging issues when they develop.
Sometimes it really feels like we are just as much firefighters as we are salespeople – we’re constantly putting out fires. Let’s face it, we’re in a profession that requires a large number of people outside of our control to do their jobs correctly to ensure our projects go smoothly.
Whether those people work for your company, work for a vendor you rely on for products or services or are a direct part of the construction process, they all have a direct impact on the success (or lack thereof) of your design projects.
And we, too, also make mistakes from time to time. So the question is: When that refrigerator opening is too small, or the cabinets come in with the wrong door style, or the plumbing fixture you forgot to order is on backorder and has a 12-week lead time, how can you turn that very negative experience into a possible selling point? The simple answer is visibility.
Providing a Presence
As sales professionals, we typically spend the majority of our time cultivating leads, working to close sales and completing all of the necessary processes to ensure the product is delivered correctly and on time. And, because of the time invested, we assume it will be flawless. But sometimes things simply don’t happen as planned.
As salespeople, it’s our primary role to represent our company in the best possible light. This role is never more important or more difficult than when an issue rears its ugly head.
Some salespeople will try to avoid the conflict and hide from the issues altogether. They may not be as visible as they could or should be. Frankly, they may disappear from contact and hope the issue will go away or resolve itself.
They are not proactive in addressing the issues and providing resolution for the client. They don’t return phone calls or e-mails as fast as they should. It seems they just fall off the face of the earth…and there could not be a more critical mistake for them to make than that.
When issues arrive, visibility is more important than ever with regard to the role of the salesperson. Simply put, this is the time we need to be our most responsive. Staying in the closest contact with our clients is crucial in times of distress – in fact, it is the most important time to ensure the process turns out positively.