What does the infamous Looney Tunes cartoon character have to do with the sales activities of your business? I’m glad you asked. In his pursuit of the Roadrunner, Wile E. constantly displays tireless pursuit, unlimited optimism and the willingness to do whatever it takes. All of these characteristics are positive sales attributes to a point but once a certain threshold is crossed they become destructive. For Wile E. it results in physical destruction (being blown up, falling off of a cliff or having a bolder fall on him); for the business owner it can result in losing a current customer or missing the chance to acquire a new customer.
I’m sure this seems like a very strange example but during a recent visit to a furniture store I felt a kinship to the Roadrunner. Upon entering the store my wife and I were approached by a sales person who asked if he could be of help. We responded that we were just looking and were not planning on buying anything that day. Before we went off we agreed that we would go to him if we had any questions.
As we began our tour of the store we noticed the sales person following us while attempting to stay out of sight (and doing a bad job of it, I might add). As we moved around the store he would periodically surface to tell us about a product feature or special promotional pricing. Reminding him that we were not going to buy anything that day did nothing to change his behavior. As a potential customer I felt like the Roadrunner being chased by a desperately hungry coyote, I mean sales person. Noticing that other customers were also living their version of the Roadrunner – Coyote experience, my wife and I vowed to never again frequent or recommend the store.
So, what did I, a business owner, learn about customer relationships from Wile E? Unless you are happy with a one time sale and no prospect for referrals…….
Don’t Chase Customers!!!
Here are a few reasons why:
- Pursuing a customer while disregarding their request to be left alone will drive them away along with everyone that they know.
- You reek of desperation. A good sales person always wants the customer to think that they are very busy, as busy equals success in peoples minds. If you are in constant pursuit, the customer thinks that you have no other prospects and are desperate for any sale. There must be a reason that no one else is working with you.
- Be upfront with the customer about how you are compensated. If you are on commission let them know. Most people understand that and will seek you out if they have any questions or decide to move to the next step. Be there as a resource for your customer to rely upon; don’t stalk them.
The best sales people listen to their customers and are a trusted resource. Upon developing a successful relationship, the customer and their referrals will return to you over and over again.
If you decide that you like to chase, then be prepared to eat a lot of dust and possibly have a boulder fall on your head. BEEP….BEEP!
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