3 Sales Scenarios You're Not Prepared For

September 29, 2014 Alex Traynor

3 sales scenerios youre not prepared forNot all sales scenarios play out perfectly in line with your typical daily-usage sales process. In this article, we'll be covering three sales scenarios you may not be ready for when they come calling. Our goal isn't to ready you for these particular challenges, however. Rather, in reading these, you should be considering how to prepare with, and deal with, anything that might come your way-anticipated or not. 

1. The major customer. 

Career-making (and breaking) customers don't come along very often. That makes it a little difficult to get accustomed to the differences in pressure and customer attitude that often come with such sales scenarios. Unless you're already at the top of your industry, in which case why are you reading this?

So what's different with a major, change your life customer? Not as much outside of your head as inside your head. The pressure can be extreme, especially if you're already prone to sales anxiety. Sometimes a customer that knows they're a big deal will act like a big deal. The solution's simple: Keep your head and hold your ground.

If you respond to a major opportunity by forgetting your process, trading in your confidence for obsequiousness, and losing your ability to make the case for your product, you're only going to squander those opportunities. You don't want to treat such sales scenarios as 'just another customer', because a bit of anxiety gives you focus, but you can't let it overwhelm you.  

If your methods are solid for the little guy, they'll be solid for the big guy. If you're relying on weak methods (the high-pressure sale, dishonesty, etc.), then you're going to end up embarrassing yourself in these major sales scenarios.

2. The savvy customer. 

When the customer knows more than you do, you have a problem. These aren't uncommon sales scenarios, but few sales people know how to safely navigate it nonetheless. If a customer knows your specs and the competition's specs, follows every third party review, knows the underlying technology, and has a question to ask that you couldn't possibly answer (being a sales person, not an engineer), what do you do?  

There are two ways to prepare for sales scenarios like this. One, know everything. Knowledge is power in the sales game, and a strong knowledge of your product, the competition, the industry, and every possible tangential can only help you in selling in all possible sales scenarios.

You should also learn to say 'I don't know' in a way that doesn't trash the potential buyer's confidence. "I'm not sure, but I can find out for you" is good. Obfuscating and repeating facts that you DO remember doesn't help your case-it just makes you look like an idiot. Learn to admit ignorance gracefully-it's helpful more often than you might suspect.

3. The antagonistic customer. 

Few sales scenarios have as much potential for a bad outcome as the antagonistic buyer. This person doesn't even seem to want to buy, only harangue you with quotes from every bad review, aggressive challenges of every issue with your product real or imagined, and simple rudeness. But the antagonist isn't a lost cause-not only can you navigate these prospects without creating a PR mess, you can often close the sale if you keep your wits.

The first goal should be avoiding damage. There are zero sales scenarios that should end with you losing your temper with a potential customer. Even if the sale's a lost cause, do you want to see yourself in some viral YouTube video? No way.

The second goal is closing the sale. Calm, reasoned, factual answers to every problem the prospect throws at you are your best bet. You need to know the complaints people throw at your product, and the solutions that current customers have found. Respond to angry complaints with calm answers and you might just close the sale.

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