- Blog post
Beware of strangers bearing gifts: Why salespeople MUST set expectations
Every now and then in sales, you get a gift. Your phone rings and there’s a buyer who wants to do business with you RIGHT NOW. Their current supplier dropped the ball and they’re in a heck of a bind. Can you help them out?
We could all do with more calls like that. But they leave me with mixed emotions. On the one hand, I want to think I’m better than the competition. I want to believe that the current supplier made a mess of things, and that I can come in, clean it up and win the buyer’s eternal gratitude.
On the other hand, what if the competition didn’t do anything wrong? What if the buyer is the problem? What if their expectations were simply unreasonable?
Most reps don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth. “So what?” they tell themselves. “Let me just get the business first. I can manage expectations later.”
I respectfully disagree.
I’d suggest that it’s critical to find out why the relationship went sour — because if you don’t start with a clear understanding of the buyer’s expectations, you’re likely to end up being their next ex-supplier.
You might try something like this: “We’d love to help you out, Ms. Buyer. But let me ask you something: XYZ is a pretty solid organization, and I’m kind of surprised they let you down. Can you tell me what happened?”
Listen very carefully to what she says. Her answer will tell you exactly what you have to do to meet her expectations – today and in the future.