To Regret A Sale or Don’t Get Roasted

I was desperate to make a sale. It was my third month in sales, and I had already been doubting my abilities when an unsuspecting coffee manufacturer came into my peripheral vision. At that time, my monthly commission was a mere one hundred and fifty dollars per month. My wife can attest. I wasn’t salaried or even hourly. This business had no choice. I was determined to bring them on as a client. I had been door-knocking that day and I welcomed myself in. I immediately knew it was above my head being the new agent I was at the time. I talked a good talk and they gave me a shot. I unfortunately oversold myself. Thinking back, I’m really ashamed.

I remember their first transaction. It was a fairly large customer invoice. Our bank held up the funds. Because of my inexperience, I hadn’t properly set them up with the appropriate limits. My phone started ringing off the hook. They wanted their money. I was a nervous wreck. I think I was more relieved the day they dropped my services than when our bank funded them. 

Years later, I still live with this lesson. I’m now so careful not to oversell that I’ll often find myself consulting businesses away from using my own company while suggesting either an alternative or advising that they stay with their current service. One such scenario played out earlier this week. I woke up with a message in my inbox. A business had gotten in touch. They were interested in the service I offer.

The message in my inbox read, “Hi, my name is Sara. It was mentioned that your service can reduce our costs by passing it to our customers. It would be a great help to hear more about this.” I was honored and felt exuberant. I used to spend weeks cold calling and door-knocking before I would even get a decent lead, let alone a sale. How far I’ve come. I now woke up to a lead. 

When a customer comes knocking, the number one question I ask myself is whether I’m a value add to their business. If the answer is yes, they’ll have my undivided attention. If the answer is no, I’ll have their undivided attention and advise accordingly. In this scenario, although I could’ve saved them thousands of dollars yearly, I advised them against me.

They currently had an online check checkout system that worked seamlessly with their website. Using my services would have added an extra step in the sales process. While it might be a simple one, it would incorporate an added manual step for both parties. Once a customer has to think twice, the sale is less likely to happen, and I didn’t think saving these few thousand dollars yearly was worthwhile for them to take this gamble. 

Rebecca Montag, blogger, 8fig explains how “once a customer chooses the product they wish to purchase and add it to their cart, you want to get them to complete the checkout process as quickly as possible. The more steps are involved or the longer it takes to check out, the more opportunities they have to change their mind. To cut down on lost sales, make sure that the checkout process is fast, simple, and secure.” I advised them to keep with their current setup. 

Taking care of clients must be priority number one, two, and three. Once we’re able to verify that we have the value our customers require, you are allowed to cash in too. Our client’s needs are there to benefit both. Putting ourselves first, however, is selfish and will come back to bite. Just ask the coffee roasters. 

My goal when selling is to be in a position where it feels good to confidently give the right advice whether or not it affects my bank account. 

Shalom Markman
Merchant Consulting Group LLC

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