March 9, 2010 by Ken Dooley
Posted in: communication, customer loyalty, economy, In this week's e-newsletter - Sales & Marketing, Latest News & Views - Sales & Marketing, training
Business today revolves around building long-term relationships with customers. So it can be devastating to watch a good, profitable customer slip away because of something a salesperson said.
But it’s even worse when the customer walks because of a conversation that had nothing to do with business.
It’s easy to hit a sensitive area while attempting to have a friendly conversation with a customer. And that’s why experienced salespeople will always steer clear of certain topics.
Share this list of topic landmines with your newer recruits.
- Personal problems. Conversations about personal problems can too easily be interpreted as manipulation to gain sympathy. They usually make the customer uncomfortable. It works the other way, too. If a customer is going through a difficult personal problem, it’s usually not a good idea to bring it up until he or she does. Sympathizing with a customer who’s being downsized or replaced can backfire if comments get back to management.
- Politics. Unless it relates specifically to what you’re selling, customers probably have little interest in your world view. It’s a high-risk topic that can easily become emotional. The best advice is not to be drawn into political debates, either at the national or state level. Few customers are going to buy because you have similar political views, and many will cut you off quickly if they feel uncomfortable with your politics.
- Other people. Complaining about your boss or your wife in front of customers is unprofessional. Gossiping about competitors will also do you no favors.
What other topics would you recommend salespeople avoid? Let us know in the Comments Box below.