Don’t pigeonhole

I was listening to a talk from a Greens Senator recently. She made some good points. She said that we have been too quick to forget about our rail network and we should further investigate the use of rail instead of road trains. I agreed. She said that we should stop spending so much money on coal and instead look at more renewable energy. I agreed. She said that we should encourage the use of electric vehicles. I agreed. Oh No! I had just agreed with a Greens spokesperson three times in a row. I turned to the gentleman next to me and said, “I never realised it before, but I must be a Greenie!” He laughed. He said, “I like girls. Does that make me a lesbian?”

He had a good point. Just because we exhibit certain traits people are very keen to ‘label us’ or put us in a certain box.

This happens all too often with clients and is a habit that it is good to break away from. By putting everyone in a ‘category’, we make that terrible mistake of making decisions for the client. We assume certain sales might apply to someone we have conveniently placed in a box.

There is the famous story (quit possibly an urban myth but the lesson still stands) of the car dealership owner who owned several dealerships and used to like to mystery shop the dealerships himself. On one occasion, he turned up to a dealership looking slightly untidy. Nothing terrible – just a t-shirt and shorts and sandals and a daggy-looking bucket hat. He walked over to the more expensive models on display in the showroom and started looking at it in an interested way. He approached one of his new salespeople and the owner asked how much the car on display was. He was hoping for an answer that included the base model plus various options taking advantage of the upsell model they utilised in his dealerships. The answer he got somewhat shocked him. Instead, in answer to how much was the car, the young salesperson looked up from his computer and said, “Too much for you to afford” and went back to his computer. The owner came back with, “also too much for you to afford given the fact that you no longer have a job!” The owner sacked him on the spot. He was more than disappointed that he judged him on his appearance alone.

In the MSP world, I often hear salespeople refer to certain customers as ‘not the MSP type’ or ‘not the type that will understand an MSP model’. Unless that salesperson has had a specific conversation with the client in question, you never want to hear those type of comments from your salespeople. You never know what the trigger point is for a client to sign up to an SLA. A friend might have had their network go down just last week from a virus infection and suddenly proactive maintenance is high on the priority list. A contract bid might not have been submitted on time due to e-mail being down. There are so many items that occur on a day-day basis that you can’t possibly be aware of all the different thought processes going on in the minds of your clients. A sale can spring from the most unlikely place. Ensure your salespeople don’t pigeonhole your clients and miss out on sales. They need to always present the sales information to all of your clients and let them decide if it suits them. You will be surprised about the sales that pop up from the most unlikely of clients.

Tell me if you have sold to clients whom you never expected to sell to at md@smallbusinessrules.com.

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