Strictly Sales with Jeff Hoffman: Dealing with Tire-Kickers and that Oh Sh*t Moment
In this post in our Strictly Sales series, we’re talking with sales trainer extraordinaire Jeff Hoffman about the secret to dealing with tire-kickers and addressing that big fat mistake you’re bound to make starting out in sales.
There are a few things that every sales person runs into:
- the moments of awkwardness your first week on the phone
- your first big win
- the lost deal you will never get over
As salespeople, we have to come to terms with the fact that some things are out of our control. However, there are are some roadblocks that we can navigate, and Jeff Hoffman is here to help!
Mistakes happen. We’ve all been there — calling someone the wrong name, hitting “reply all” to an email accidentally, putting a competitor’s logo on a PowerPoint. What do you do in that type of situation, Jeff?
Acknowledge it. Don’t try to sweep it under the rug. You have to take your time, breathe, embrace it, and dive in.
Get back to the person and say something like, “If you haven’t read my horrible faux-pas, scroll down, and have a laugh. I’m embarrassed this happened…” and then move on.
Stop worrying about building rapport. Rapport is a result not a goal. This job is hard enough without obsessing what you have to say to a person to get them to like you.
Another piece of advice: be curious, and own up to when you don’t know something.
How many people nod their head like a bobble head doll because they want to show that they are smart and “credible?” Intelligence is based on your ability to be curious and not be afraid of the things you don’t know. If a customer says something you don’t understand, say you don’t understand. Know what you don’t know and embrace it.
What about tire-kickers — they can burn up a ton of time for us. How do you respectfully break up with them?
The biggest foul we make with tire-kickers, or people who are ultimately not buyers, is being suckered into a relationship based on rapport. Which is why rapport is so ignorant in the first place.
If you want to break up with a tire-kicker, here is a great way to take control of the situation:
“So, [name] it sounds like you still have quite a number of things to look at here before you make your decision. Well, I’m going to tell you what we are going to do. I am going to start off with a white paper I want you to read. It’s a pretty standard piece of marketing collateral, but there are a few elements in there that will be of particular use to you and your company. I don’t want to tell you what I think they are, but I want you to tell me what you think they are because I think this will be a great place for us to dive in. I will send that over to you now.
“Are you in front of your computer? Great, my cell phone is xxx-xxx-xxxx. Now I want you to call me on my cell phone exclusively when you want to talk. Don’t even worry about emailing me, just call my cell after you read the white paper and we will go through it together. Does that work?”
That’s how you break up with people. Put it on their shoulders and say don’t email me just call my cell. Most often they won’t do it.
We know you have stories too! Tell us your biggest “Oh Sh*t” Moment in the comments section below.
Read the Other Posts in the Strictly Sales Series
- The Keys to Prospecting and Sales Management
- The Best and Worst Sales Stories & Advice
- Dealing with Tire-Kickers and Oh Sh*t Moments
- How to Hire Top Sales Talent and What Recent Grads Should Look for in a Sales Role