We have all had the encounter — one that, as a customer, makes us question whether or not the sales professional who has engaged us is really interested in us, or instead, simply sees us as, ‘the sale.’ This typically occurs when we lose touch with the customer’s response queues, verbal or non-.
From the perspective of hoping to never receive that as our customer’s reaction, it is important to check in on our techniques from time to time. The experience a customer has with us from the moment we engage sets the tone for that entire transaction, as well as the longer-term relationship.
Whether you intend it or not, if you’ve faced a situation where the conversation with a prospective customer becomes awkward, forced or stale, there is a way you can recover the exchange. Simply out the discomfort with your prospect and attempt to move the discussion forward, productively, with a few tips:
Acknowledge any comments you may have made that could have been taken as off-putting and apologize. Even if it was unintended or your perception is that you said nothing potentially offensive, take a pause and replay those first few moments and take note if you may have said something that could have been taken the wrong way. Turn the conversation around by stating something like, “I’m sorry; I realize that may not have come out right. I hope I didn’t offend you. Can we start this conversation again?”
Notice if perhaps the way you’re guiding the conversation just isn’t working. It is possible that you’re simply not connecting with your customer. The discussion might be very clearly one-sided. If you aren’t getting forward-moving (or any) responses from your conversation partner, stop for a moment and reset. Turn the focus back to them with a line such as, “Why don’t you tell me a bit more about what it is you’re looking for; after all that is what I’m here to understand.”
Offer optimism, regardless of the mood that followed you to the meeting. No matter what kind of day you’re having, be sure to smile, authentically. A genuine smile puts anyone at ease and helps offer a sense of trust. Also, present your comments with a positive tone in your voice. Also, be sure not to infuse any cynical, sarcastic or semi-commiserating-type statements into the conversation.
As a last resort, try the conversation at another time. If you feel you’ve gotten into some tough territory, excuse yourself from the situation in a polite and straightforward way by offering, “I realize you might need to get going, and I don’t want to take too much of your time. Why don’t I give you a call in the next few weeks?” Give some air to the exchange and after a bit of time, reach out to the customer and try again.
While attempting to recover any conversation may feel a little uncomfortable, it could just salvage a business relationship and extend your opportunity to develop a long-term future with your colleague.
W.J. Bradley Mortgage Capital, LLC
Office: 949-729-9200 EX. 485