Advice from Non-Buyers: Valuable or Not?

Portrait Of Professional Car Sales Consultant Talking With Clients.

“Actions speak louder than words!

As a sales person, your best metric of success is sales, not praise.”

~ Chandell Labbozzetta

Your Perspective is Showing

Last week I received a call from Kayla, one of the HR reps at a company that had asked me to work with their sales team to increase motivation and conversion. They had recently hired a new sales manager who has worked with me before and who knew that I could deliver the training his team needed to accelerate their results. I had discussed everything with him, told him my terms, and provided a course overview. The purchase was approved and I expected that Kayla was calling to discuss the start date.

Oh boy, was I wrong!

Thirty seconds into the call I realised that Kayla is one of those people who doesn’t have a sales person’s bone in her body… She also thinks that sales people are sleazy. For all I know, based on her tone of voice, she thinks they should all burn in hell. I could hear the disdain in her voice from the moment we started the call and it wouldn’t have bothered me except that…

Her first sentence began with: “I really think that you should change…” and she went on to tell me all the things she didn’t like about my 8-week program based on the 3-page program overview and her disgust for sales.

Whether your attitude to a topic is enthusiastic, neutral, or negative will communicate itself clearly to your prospects, just as Kayla’s disgust communicated itself to me. That’s why surveys and forums are often unhelpful and why you want to make sure to put yourself in a positive mindset before making a sales call so that you don’t sabotage your own results.

All Feedback is a Gift… AND

You should evaluate it carefully before you act on it.

Sometimes positive feedback is helpful. Sometimes it isn’t.

Sometimes negative feedback should be acted on. Sometimes you should ignore it.

You are responsible for your results, and therefore you are responsible for evaluating and considering the feedback you receive and deciding what to do about it.

One of my clients completely changed the name and content of her products and services based on advice from another coach who had his own hang-ups about what this person did. Her coach was never going to buy her services, but she took the advice he gave her and it cost her several years of progress and nearly sent her into bankruptcy. When she came to work with me, it was immediately clear that this coach had undermined her self-confidence because he didn’t value her particular specialty and the result was that she doubted all her hard-won knowledge and experience.

In our Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and coaching trainings we emphasize strongly that you should never work with a client whom you don’t believe can succeed because your belief (or lack of it) will communicate itself to them and affect their results. For this reason, I will reject clients whom I might like to work with, if I am convinced they do not have what it takes to succeed in their undertaking because I know that that belief is a critical component in their success.

Non-Buyers Can Help You Evaluate Your Sales Process

People who don’t buy can provide valuable feedback about your sales process.

One of the organisations I worked with had a conversion rate of just 3%. The first assignment I gave the team members was to call all the people who they had talked to who hadn’t bought and ask them why.

It turned out that the biggest problem was that they were talking to unqualified buyers. Eighty-six percent of the non-buyers were not and never would be, candidates for their service. When we evaluated our list and tightened up our qualification process, their conversion rate leaped to 82% even before we changed anything about the process. When we took into account the other negative responses from qualified buyers we were able to strengthen their sales pitch, follow up, and we got some valuable enhancements for the content of the program.

Even though you should always remember that the responses given in focus groups and through surveys are often not confirmed by behaviour, you can always learn something new.

Before You Refine or Change Your Product…

’The road to hell is paved with good intentions’ and even the best-intentioned people (both buyers and non-buyers) can lead you astray so think carefully before you act on the advice and feedback you receive.

Here are some key factors to start with:

  • What is your vision for this product? Do the critics understand that vision?
  • What is the core use of this product? Do your evaluators share or appreciate this need?
  • Where does your product fit in the marketplace?
  • How does it compare with its real competitors?

The less similar to existing products or services yours is, the more likely it is that criticism is based on misunderstanding.

Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, and other trailblazers did not ask the marketplace what was required: they built on the basis of their own vision, knowing that most people would have to see the results in order to appreciate the power of their product.

If you want to innovate, it is important for you to trust your own vision and know where to take feedback and from whom, and when your best course is simply to forge ahead as planned and keep seeking ideal prospects who will get excited about the results and solutions you offer. This is why at the heart of all my programs, there is a strong emphasis on building self-confidence, creating a powerful positive mindset, and learning how to accept and evaluate feedback so you can maximise your mileage.

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