We get them all of the time: those so-called exceptional offers from salespeople who are charismatic and disarming. We know we’re being sold a product or service for the benefit of the business for which the salesperson works. Yet sometimes the offer relates to something that might actually benefit us, and the salesperson seems to be genuinely interested in making sales that benefits us. It’s so easy in that moment to close the deal and provide payment information, then to regret it later. That is the art of sales, an art I have studied and am more capable now of appreciating from some distance. I encourage you to gain some power in this area, too.
STEP 1: DEFINE THE CONFLICT.
The salesperson and I disagree about how urgently I need to commit payment to the sale of something I didn’t even consider “needing” until she called me.
STEP 2: IDENTIFY THE INTERESTS.
Clearly, the salesperson wants to make a sale. That’s why “sales” is in her title. She is likely being paid a commission, or at least a bonus, for the sale and is relying upon this income to sustain her lifestyle (whatever that might be for her).
I want to make wise financial and business decisions. I like to try new offerings and am willing to experiment, but I also need to be certain the benefits outweigh the costs. I know I am a people-pleaser and can make mistakes when I am not keeping that reflexive response in check.
STEP 3: PLAY WITH THE POSSIBILITIES.
The salesperson was quite skilled in creating possibilities for me. She showed me several options, and the online materials were well presented. She had me thinking about the number of people I might reach per day if I ran an ad for three to five hours per day on a screen in a busy office building that might house several businesses in my target market. I created for her the possibility of having a high-quality sale to a business that did not go bankrupt by overcommitting its funds. For myself, I created the possibility of her promises being authentic. But I still wanted to do my research.
STEP 4: CREATE THE FUTURE.
I committed to calling the salesperson back the next day, after I had fully considered the opportunity. I also committed (to my team) to going to the building the salesperson was supposedly convinced was a good fit for my advertising.
STEP 5: STAY ON PARR.
Conveniently, I had business in that same building less than an hour after my call with the salesperson. I went to the building and had to search for the screens that would run my expensive ad. I watched to see if anyone passing the screens even looked in their direction. Not one did.
Upstairs, I asked a woman in the office of my colleagues if she or anyone she knows ever watches the content on the screens. She first looked at me as if to ask “What screens?” Then, she recalled them and told me that she does not. She thought more people would probably pay attention to them if they were in the elevators the way they are in some buildings. I agreed. She also said that some of the other people in her office might look at them to get market or financial reports, but we agreed that they were probably only looking at the screens to get specific information. They probably didn’t watch any of the ads, so my cost per exposure began to look like $499.00 each–if I was lucky–and I believe that less than 10% of the total exposures actually purchase from an ad. So, my real cost was more like $4,990.00 per exposure! That would have to be a pretty big client with a complicated legal matter for it to be worth my investment!
So, I will call today and politely decline the “great opportunity.” Yet I will be thankful for the opportunity to exercise my good judgment and to write another successful Third Ear Case study.