The Fantastic Four: Your Most Difficult Buyers!

August 11, 2009

I’ve been lurking around this cool Sales site, Sales Gravy, and read some nice articles that I want to share to all.

It’s close to my heart because I have encountered (and currently encountering) some of these members of the fantastic four. Maybe knowing more about them would help us in our everyday transactions.
Here goes…

Difficult Buyers: How to Sell to Anyone PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kelly Robertson

4 Personality Types

There are four personality types or social styles – Analyticals, Drivers, Expressives and Amiables – and all four have their own unique approach to business, their own language and thought processes etc. As a consequence, the very best sales professionals have become adept at recognising which personality they are dealing with and adapt their approach and communication style accordingly.

From the demanding, abrasive buyer to the individual who never seems to make a buying decision, we encounter challenging people on a regular basis. Part of the reason this happens is due to the disconnect we have because of conflicting personalities.

The Secrets of Power Selling by Kelly RobertsonLet’s face it. We all have those difficult customers to whom we are required to sell. From the demanding, abrasive buyer to the individual who never seems to make a buying decision, we encounter challenging people on a regular basis. Part of the reason this happens is due to the disconnect we have because of conflicting personalities. This article will look at the four key types of people and how to improve your results with each.

Direct Donna. Donna is very direct in her approach. She tends to be forceful and always wants to dominate or control the sales call. Her behavior is aggressive, she points at you while she talks, interrupts your to challenge you, and she seldom cares about hearing the details of your new product or service. Instead, she demands that you “cut to chase” and “tell me the bottom line.” Donna is very results- focused and goal-oriented and hates wasting time.

To achieve the best sales results with this individual you need to be more direct and assertive. Tell her at the beginning of the sales call or meeting that you know how busy she is and how valuable her time is. Tell her that you will “get right to the point” and focus your conversation on the results she will achieve by using you product or service. Resist the temptation to back down if she confronts you because you will lose her respect. To Donna, it is not personal, it’s just business.

Lastly, be direct in asking for her business-you don’t have to dance around this issue.

Talkative Tim. Tim is a gregarious and outgoing person but very ego-centric. He is often late for your meetings and his constant interruptions and long stories cause your sales calls to go beyond the scheduled time. He appears to be more concerned with listening to himself talk which is frustrating because you don’t always get enough time to discuss your solution.

Relationships are very important to Talkative Tim so invest more time in social conversation. Even if you don’t see the point in this, he will appreciate the gesture and will like you more. This person often makes buying decisions on intuition and how he feels about the sales person.

Be careful not to challenge Tim because he will feel rejected and when this happens he will “shut down” and become unresponsive. During your sales presentation, tell him how good your solution will make him look to others in the company or how his status or image will improve. In other words, appeal to his ego.

Steady Eddie. Soft-spoken, Eddie is a “nice” fellow who seems more focused on his team and coworkers than on his personal results. He is very quiet compared to some of your other prospects and can be difficult to read. But most frustrating is his reluctance to make a buying decision. Eddie’s mantra seems to be “I’m still thinking about but thanks for following up.”

{sidebar id=3} Structure and security is important to these people and it is difficult for Eddie to make changes. He often contemplates how the decision will affect other people within the organization. That means you need to slow down the sales process, demonstrate how your solution will benefit the team, and remove as much risk from the decision-making process as possible. Soften your voice and make sure your sales presentation flows in a logical manner. Use words like “fair” “logical” and “your team” in your presentation.

Analytical Alice. She reads every point and specification about your product or service and regardless of how much information you give Alice, she always wants more, including written guarantees and back up documentation. She is very difficult to read and it is extremely difficult to get her engaged in an open conversation because personal feelings and emotions do not enter the picture when Alice makes a decision.

Whenever possible, give Alice a written, bullet-point agenda of your meeting-beforehand. Ideally, email it to her a few days in advance so she can prepare herself. Make sure it is completely free of typos, spelling mistakes and punctuation errors. When you meet, follow the agenda in perfect order and if you make any type of claim, have supporting documentation available for her to read.

While the approach to use with each of these people may not make sense to you or seem completely rational, it is critical to recognize that how you naturally and instinctively sell may not be the best way to get results with someone else. Modifying your approach and style, even briefly, will help you better connect with your customers and prospects which means you will generate better sales.


Another one for TDO

August 3, 2009

I just want to say that TDO did it again.

I don’t want to share the whole story because we never know who reads my blog.
I am hoping that what ever was done, it was an honest mistake and not deliberate.
I’m always up for a challenge and will use this situation as an opportunity to show how dedicated I am in my work.

Meet TDO

August 2, 2009

One great aspect of this job of mine is that I get to meet a lot of people and sometimes make great new friends in the process.

However, you don’t always get to meet the nice ones. Sometimes, you get to meet T.D.O.

Let me be clear about one thing though, TDO not TOD, but the lines are blurred if they are really that different from each other.
TDO= The Difficult One

TOD= Tyrannical Office Despot (aka Amy Jenkins of Meg Cabot’s book Boy meets Girl)
Let’s leave TOD for another time and stick to TDO.
I’m sure you’ve met him/her in your work/school at one time or another.
This is the person who makes your life a living hell less enjoyable. This person makes you dread going to work everytime you wake up each morning.
And then a question lingers in your mind… WHY ARE THEY LIKE THAT?!!!
It’s like what Dr. Robert Bramson said in his book Coping with Difficult People
“Individuals behave in a difficult manner because they have learned that doing so keeps others off balance and incapable of effective action. Worst of all, they appear immune to all the usual methods of communication and persuasion designed to convince or help them change their ways,”
Ok Doc, TDO’s keep us off balance. Fine. We get that. Do they do it on purpose because this person is really cramping my style? Forget I asked that question. NEXT!
Confession Session: I have my own TDO and I am about to eat my shorts (see… already off balanced).

Makes my life a living hell less enjoyable. CHECK.
Hostile. CHECK.
Blatantly ignoring you while you’re making a point. CHECK.
Raises their voice/ screams at you in front of other people. CHECK.

But wait there’s more… CHECK. CHECK. CHECK…
Contrary to popular belief that yours truly is aggressive and therefore confrontational, I’m actually a piece of fried chicken and a pacifist at heart. I’m only aggressive when I am already being stepped on. So far, I have not been stepped on…that much (bookbokbokbokooook)
As much as I enjoy Schadenfreude as the next guy, I’d rather let the Karmic Circle do their usual rounds than play dirty games.
And therefore, I have been following some of Doc Bramson’s tips on how to deal with this TDO person of mine.

  • Don’t take difficult people’s behavior personally. Their troublesome behavior is habitual and affects most people with whom they come in contact.- This I find to be true upon doing a little sleuthing. It’s not really ME the way I used to think.
  • Don’t fight back or try to beat them at their own games. They have been practicing their skills for a lifetime, and you’re an amateur.
  • Don’t try to appease them. Difficult people have an insatiable appetite for more.-It also makes them feel more right and superior if you do appease them.This will make their head swell like a hot air balloon. And it reinforces them to do it repeatedly.
  • Don’t try to change them. You can only change your responses to their behavior.

Nothing really revolutionary but it’s a nifty guide whenever TDO’s about to pop a vein.
It also saves me from stress which leads to an increase in cortisone levels, which in turn can contribute to making me fat. And I do not want to get fat. Not if I want to shashay in an uber sexy gown next summer.
Sometimes I feel down whenever I interact with TDO. I’m nice. Really. I deserve to be treated in a fair and respectable manner. Why? Because I treat TDO that way. No matter how many times this person screams at me or makes me feel like a pound of dung, I always look at it as part of the job and not really personal. Not really easy to do, but it can be done. It just adds fine lines and wrinkles on my face though. Not HAPPY!
So, do you have your own TDO? What did you do about it?
Answers on a post card!

6 reasons why I’m still in sales.

July 7, 2009

I am an accidental Sales Woman.

I never wanted to be in sales in the first place.

I wanted to be a product/ brand manager or be in trade marketing.

I wanted to create demand and think of strategies that would drive consumption of a product.

I wanted my products to SELL but I don’t want to be in the front line doing the selling.

I ended up in sales though. Not the career I pictured myself in. But I’m here.

And I might die in sales. MIGHT. We never know.

Going back, I ended up in sales. But I have the freedom to choose a different path. But I didn’t.

See, I enjoy what I do. Sure there are crappy things about my job. But obviously there are tons of benefits by being in sales that obviously made me stay in this line of work for almost half a decade already

Reason Number 1: I get to drive a car! Plus have tools like laptops and company phone!

Shallow reason? Yes.
I did not have the capability of buying my own car since I was just fresh out of college. Don’t you think the lure of a free car with free gas allowance isn’t enough to entice you?

I sure did!

Add that to the fact that most companies I know will let you buy that car after a few years at a fraction of a cost of acquisition. I get to buy a car for pennies! Well not exactly pennies because it has already depreciated by then. But still! With proper care knowing the car will be yours someday, you might even get to sell it and earn a profit!

Warning: never cite this as a reason why you want to be in sales! Or else!

Reason Number 2: Travel!

Aside from Olongapo, Pampanga, Tagaytay, and Cavite I have never really travelled. I find it costly.
But since I am already in sales, and fortunately I am handling a National account, I get to travel for free!

I wouldn’t be able to visit Visayas and Mindanao provinces if not for my job. Sure, I have yet to be in Boracay or Palawan. Or, even out of the country. BUT, for sure it will happen. And I might not even need to use personal money for it (provided I have accounts opening in those areas. Hehehe).

It’s mixing business with pleasure. You don’t get to travel for free if you’re on a regular 9-5 job you know. But then, when you get interviewed, never cite this reason why you want to be in sales! You’ll look like you want to go on vacation all the time. 🙂

Reason Number 3: Control your own time!

Field sales people like yours truly are required to do certain number of calls a day. So if I am able to productively finish all of them before 3pm rolls in, more or less you can do whatever you want.

Just make sure you’re really done for the day!

Reason Number 4: Earn Tons of MOOLAH!

Let’s be honest, I don’t want to work for peanuts. When you’re in sales, you earn what you are worth!

Ok let’s be realistic, you have to earn your keep.

You need to work extra hard so you can earn commission after commission on top of your basic salary.

But then you have to work smart. And I know a lot of people who work smart and earn an additional half a million a year in commissions alone. Not bad eh? But, that’s not me in case you want to ask me for a treat. 😛

Reason Number 5: Meet New Friends!

Need I say more?

Reason Number 6: Trained for bigger things in life.

I remember those days when I walk along EDSA with my trusty umbrella and I knock on people’s doors and try to set an appointment with their finance managers so I can offer them my bank’s savings/checking account, and other financial services.

I remember being shouted at by a potential client upon finding out I was not Chinese. The client only dealt with fellow Chinese. I was escorted out of his office.

I remember riding in trucks and selling medicine in far flung towns in Mindanao even though there was a bomb threat.

Or being in a very WET (meaning flooded) market to sell Catsup and Vinegar and merchandising the products bought while dead vermin floated nearby.

My feet went numb after being a pharmacist for a day, dispensing medicine just to get the feel of the drugstore dynamics so I know how to deal with my drugstore customers.

I had to become a promo girl at one time. Giving out samples of our products at a Bingo event that I sponsored. Manpower was limited. As such, I had to help out.

It was HARD. Your patience was tested. Your ability to obtain leads was tested.Your ability to convince the potential client to shift from well known competitors to yours was tested. Your resiliency was stretched to near breaking point. You get to learn how to delay gratification. You learn to bounce back from adversity and mistakes.

I learned to deal with the hard knocks of life because of my work. My hands got dirty but I have become a tougher and focused person as a result.

There’s more good reasons to cite but that’s left for another time. I just want to say that sometimes you can read entries about me ranting about work. But honestly, I don’t think I’ll be elsewhere other than Sales. A different industry maybe. But still in Sales.

Some things must be kept a secret

July 7, 2009

I noticed that Blogger does not do private entries unlike Livejournal.

As such, I have to revive THE OTHER SALES BLOG because it has a password function for selected entries!
If ever I blogged about something that needs a password first, do send me a message! It means it’s sensitive. Meaning, I might get fired. Harharhar.
Kidding. No seriously.

Simple Career Advice that Kicks Ass

July 7, 2009

Just wanted to share this presentation with you. Practical, straight to the point, and very entertaining.

I hope you enjoy this!

Protected: Part 2 of Walking/ Talking on Eggshells

July 7, 2009

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