I bet all of us have walked out of an appointment or hung up the phone and said, “Wow that was a tough meeting.” Then, we put the blame on the prospect. “Gee, she must be having a bad day. Guys like him don’t respect salespeople.”
The next time you encounter a tough prospect, do the opposite and take responsibility. Instead of complaining, start thanking. Tough prospects raise your sales game and keep you competitive. In fact, you may even want to write them a thank you note! Here is a sample to get you started.
Dear Mr. Prospect:
Thanks for meeting with me this week. Your good questions and tough questions made me realize there are sales tools that need serious sharpening.
For one thing, I wasn’t prepared for the meeting. I chose the ‘wing-it method’ and didn’t invest time in pre-call planning. Many of the questions or objections you asked aren’t new. However, without preparation, I stumbled on answers---which probably raised concerns in your mind about my credibility and ability.
You reminded me that I have gotten complacent. In this day and age of information, there are tons of places to research and study before a meeting. There is no reason not to be prepared. If I had done the work, perhaps the meeting would have been more relevant for you.
I also want to thank you because you made me realize that I am taking my good customers for granted. Unlike you, they know the good work that I do. That tough meeting makes me even more motivated to keep current customers happy. (No offense, but I would rather keep a good customer than constantly find new ones.)
It’s that time of year where contract renewals are discussed and the need to raise prices. I am asking myself some tough questions. Am I raising prices without raising value? How do I create advocates, not just customers?
Thanks again for a tough meeting. I will reach out to you next week to admit my less than stellar sales performance. If you give me the opportunity, I will show up prepared and ready to add value.
The Self-Aware and Accountable Salesperson
President and CSO