Steps to Management Success – Step 78: You Can’t Put “Thank You” in the Bank

Written By Rick Frishman Published April 2nd, 2010


You Can’t Put “Thank You” in the Bank

This rule is tricky because it’s a bit of a balancing act and a judgment call. To woo a client, you naturally want to put your best foot forward. You want to be as helpful as possible so as to demonstrate your expertise or the quality of your product or service. And that’s OK—but that said, don’t let visions of monster orders seduce you into giving away the store.

WHAT IT MEANS: At some point—and the sooner, the better—you have to start getting paid. After all, you are trying to stay in business. There are some customers who will think nothing of stringing you along with promises, buck-passing, delays, et cetera, and sometimes that’s a legitimate part of the sales cycle. It’s a little bit like fishing—you have to know when to give a little more line and when to cut bait.

ACTION PLAN: Review all the times you’ve been strung along by a customer. Did you have a sense at any time that you were being taken advantage of? In retrospect, what could you have done to avoid or curtail that scenario? Also realize that many people (and yes, customers are people) will take whatever they think they can get away with, so it’s up to you to set limits and to say no.

EVEN BETTER: Discuss this issue with your sales manager or more experienced sales reps. Different companies will take different positions on this issue—and a certain amount of discretion is well advised. For example, a potentially HUGE customer might be worth a little more leeway. Nevertheless, it is generally a good idea to make it clear to your prospects that they can get a sample or an initial consultation or a detailed proposal but that the meter will start running at Point A. Ask for the sale!

(Excerpted from: 10 Clowns Don’t Make a Circus. . . and 249 Other Critical Management Success Strategies by Steven Schragis and Rick Frishman)

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