One of the many “selling” lessons learned over my thirty eight years in the remodeling business came while dealing with a rather obnoxious prospect that from the outset had been very abrasive and extremely negative. Every step of the way through the process the client had been negative and hard to deal with but at the end of every meeting, he had chosen to move forward. I had inherited this client from another on the sales staff and after one meeting I could see why. The next meeting was scheduled and the proposal and all of the papers were drawn up for the close.
We went through the entire proposal from the beginning to the end making sure that I had covered all of the client’s wishes and addressed the underlying motivations. The meeting was going very smoothly, considering that the prior meetings had come down to almost hand to hand combat which had led me to be very concerned about the outcome of this sale. Needless to say, I was much more apprehensive inside than I appeared on the outside.
When we got down to the end of the scope of work, I slid my copy across the table and pointed to the number with my finger stating; “This is the number we have discussed up to this point, in fact it is slightly lower than I had expected from our prior conversations.” I sat back in my chair and folded my arms on the table and watched, saying nothing further. The client looked at the number, then paged backwards through the document before turning it upside down on the table. Looking me straight in the eye, he said; “I just can’t see the value in this project for what it is going to cost me!” Not saying a word, I reached over and picked up the document that he had just set down and placed it in front of me, still face down. I said; “Well, Mr. Stack, it sounds to me as though you have made up your mind. I guess we are done here and made to get up from the table. Mr. Stack almost dove across the table to grab the document out from under my hand. Mr. Stack signed the paperwork that day and after the ice was broken, upgraded the project by almost 10k.
After that experience, I never again let a negative customer take my eye off the ball! You never know what you are going to experience at the sales table, but if you have done your job up to that point, you are only there to put the finishing touches on an already sold project.
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