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I’ve never been much of a cook but what I do know is, if you follow the recipe for baking a cake exactly: voilà! A cake appears. It’s magic. Now if you leave out one ingredient, let’s say eggs or baking powder, or if you haphazardly add an ingredient (yes, I’ve done both), your cake simply won’t rise. Chefs, pilots, athletes and salespeople all need to follow a recipe… AKA a “process.”

You probably know by now, that only when you stick to a consistent sales process can you expect consistent sales results. Without it, you give way to emotional whims and impulse. A solid process, combined with the right habits, alleviates such questions as: Should I prospect this morning? Should I engage in a mental mindset activity? Which discovery questions do I ask?

Over the years, I’ve found three situations that tempt salespeople to abandon their sales process, and even forgo proven success habits.

#1 – The Customer Who’s in a Hurry
When the customer says he’s in a hurry, what he’s really saying is, “Don’t accost me with mounds of data.” He doesn’t want an interrogation and isn’t interested in small talk. He wants to get to brass tacks – the price.

To avoid short-cutting your presentation, assure him his time is valuable. Tell him: “Our product line is quite diverse. If you can spare just five minutes for me up front, I can save you twenty minutes later on. So let’s get started.”

Claiming I’m in a hurry is a buzz phrase today. Customers want the CliffsNotes so they can quickly scratch your product off their list. Your job is to build enough curiosity for them to want more.

 #2 – The Customer that Says “I’ll Buy One Now!”
Sales are lost because the customer proclaims “We’re looking for such and such a product or program,” or, “Yes, I’m in the market for that.” The salesperson gets so excited that they jump straight to price, pull out a contract, and fail to build rapport. Who needs that old “connect” step anyway?

Unless your customer truly has his or her credit card in hand, any of these responses can kill the deal. They may be interested in buying, but not now, or not from you. In this instance, weed out possible objections by asking these questions:

  • Have you definitely decided on this brand or model?
  • How soon do you want to purchase it?
  • What alternative products have you looked at?
  • How did you hear about us?
  • That’s so great! What was the deciding factor?
  • What have you been using to fulfill this need prior to this, and why has it not been working for you?
  • Will you be paying with cash or credit today?


 #3 – The Customer that Says, “I’ll Never Buy Today,” or “It’s Not in Our Budget”
Whatever you do, don’t believe them. The customer that declares they won’t buy is often afraid that they will buy. How many times have you walked into a store and declared, “I’m not buying anything today!” How often do vendors approach you and you brush them off because you don’t want to take the time out of your hectic schedule? Never challenge the customer who resists at the beginning. Instead, follow up with one of these responses:

  • That’s fine, Mr. Customer. If this isn’t for you, I’m sure you may know others that are interested. Our best source of business is through referrals.
  • No problem. It may be a fit for you at a later date. Perhaps your company will be looking for this type of solution in the future.
  • That’s fine, no worries at all. I’m so passionate about our product that I’m just happy to get the word out.

Remember that it’s up to you to stick to your sales process. The next time your customer tempts you to stray from your process, stay in control with one or more of these responses. By keeping to a methodical and intentional sales process you’ll achieve exceptional results.

As Abdul Kalam says, “Excellence is a continuous process and not an accident.”

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