When dealing with customers and accounts that sales professionals manage, it makes things easier when the individuals are nicer and easier to deal with than a rude and arrogant person. Many times, customers have options when it comes to product choices as well as who they choose to see for sales calls. There is a fine balance that sales professionals must play when making sales calls and different progression of the account, the account manager has to consider where they are with the account and to make sure the activities are in line with the sales goals they have set for themselves.
It is important to establish early on in the initial conversations with customers to link the products/service/solution you offer to their needs. This only comes with asking the right questions to uncover the customer’s needs and to align their needs with your product/service. Account managers have the the challenge of passing the gate keeper and to build a relationship to be welcomed back, but if the sales calls are only made to build and strengthen relationships without the set goals of progressing the sales forward or gaining a referral, then it should be called a “social call” versus a sales call.
This article is not claiming that sales professionals need to be arrogant, insensitive mean people to get business done, in fact amiable and friendly sales professionals do quite well, but there is that fine balance of managing business relationships to where each party involved benefits from fulfilling their needs and the sales professional making a sale. Now, social sales do generate sales because the customer “likes” the sales rep, but hasn’t bought into the true value and find that the product you sell is the product for them. If a sales professional built a mutually benefitial business relationship, then being nice is fine, but business does need to be progressed.
Nice sales people are very successful in this industry, but sales professionals know how to balance being nice and building the relationship and to position their product/service as the choice when the customer makes a purchase. If there is money to be made, there will always be competition and being “too nice” is a way to gain access to talk about the product, but if a value proposition is never given or a significant sales reason is given, then a customer will simply only enjoy your company rather than give you the necessary sales you need to meet your goals.
This is why setting specific goals and pre-call planning as well as post-call analysis is important to review the progress you are making with each account call. It is fine to have calls to strengthen relationships, but if all calls are focused on this, ask yourself, when will sales begin to come your way. It might feel great to be able to walk into a large potential account and to have time with the decision maker as well as them liking you, but if a sale is never made, then you should analyze your approach. It is possible to be nice, but also be effective by making sure a business discussion that progresses the sales forward is being done. Customers know why you are there and you set the expectations of your visits being social versus a business call when you repeatedly do this. Be friendly and nice, but also get business done and not only focus on being only “too nice”.