The Us Them Relationship

Everyone has had his or her share of bad experiences with salespeople who are unprofessional, insensitive, manipulative, double-dealing, and swindling. Harsh words, perhaps, but accurate. Sooner or later, everybody runs into one of these guys who give the rest of us a bum rap. What’s more, their shabby tactics cause many prospects to become anxious and gun shy even when called on by a professional salesperson. You must realize that people aren’t instinctually resistant to salespeople and certainly are not born with this attitude. Frequently, prospects think that salespeople are out to take advantage of them, so they become defensive, and throughout the presentation they concentrate on how to resist the close. It becomes a matter of self preservation. They don’t want to be manipulated into buying, even if they truly need the product or service and would realize an exceptional value by buying it.

Us and Them/ Relationship

I’m no different from anyone else. I’ve met head-on with a number of obnoxious and pushy salespeople who tried to manipulate and intimidate me into buying their products. And I’ve been the sucker of sales presentations offering unbelievable pie-in-the-sky deals. And if I can be had by a fast talking, wheeling and dealing pitchman, you better believe me when I tell you everyone has gone through the wringer. It’s hard to imagine anyone who hasn’t felt the heat and discomfort of a shyster at one time or another.

Sadly, many salespeople think of selling as a battle during which they match wits against the prospects, and if successful, they win. They view good salesmanship as gamesmanship. To these individuals, a sale represents as conquest. They become the victors and the customer is the conquered. Frankly, I can’t think of a worse scenario. When you position yourself as a foe of the prospect, you work against him instead of working with him. Remember that you’re both on the same team, and when a sale is made, both the seller and the buyer win. You must think in terms of how you can help your prospect by guiding him to make the right decision.

Each time a person entered my dealer’s showroom, I viewed it as an opportunity to help somebody. I wanted to sell them what was good for them. When you think about selling in this light, you can’t be the prospect’s opponent; you’re working on the same team. When you truly want to serve your customer, he or she knows it and you’ll overcome sales resistance. I believe that this kind of selling environment must be developed early in the presentation. If you fail to create it, you will come across as an opponent, and you’ll be in for a real battle when it’s time to close the sale. In all likelihood, it will be a battle with no winners.

So take my advice and turn the tables around. Create an atmosphere in which the prospect will find you congenial, informative, and professional. The poor image that people have about salespeople doesn’t have to be the one they have about you. Imagine the relief it will be to the prospect who expects a round of browbeating and double-talking to be met with sincerity and professionalism. The prospect’s previously bad experiences make us good guys look all the better!

Photo Credit – The Translation Business