If it doesn’t fit

One of the hardest things when selling is realizing when a sale doesn’t fit.  It takes a lot to gracefully walk away.  Or, harder still, knowing the right solution isn’t in your stable and then pointing the customer in the right direction.  Because one of our biggest products is actually our service, this is something we’ve learned over the years.  There are a lot of choices, and this probably hits home with anyone that sells.  We can’t be the perfect fit for everyone.  ACT! or ACT! hosting, and the services we offer aren’t what everyone needs.  And as hard as we try, we certainly can’t make everyone happy. 

Every time a situation like this comes up, I think of one of my favorite Christmas movies.  I know it’s Africa hot out there, at least here it is, so really, a Christmas movie?  Yes, Miracle on 34th Street.  One of the marketing miracles in the movie was their Santa.  Being the “real” and righteous Santa, he pointed the customers to competitors when he knew their store didn’t have things the mom’s were looking for.  The craziest part was that the customers came back to Macy’s for other stuff because of their experience. 

It sounds completely insane, right?  I can tell you from my personal sales experience, I’ve never had higher appreciation from a prospect than when I say, “you know what, we aren’t a fit, you should check out that other product”.  We’ve even had a few of those come back to us, when they have moved on to another company.  They remembered and appreciated our candor, and our prescriptive sales approach.  When they do, I’m able to pull them up in ACT! and see the History of the past conversation and pick up where we left off.  I even jot in the Details of my History the name of the product they went with.  So, if they were using SalesForce, I like to bring up and ask about their experience with SalesForce.  There is a comfort on the other end of the phone that we remembered their story.  The bigger point, aside from the nice ACT! tie-in, know what you sell.  Know and admit when it’s not right for the customer.  Nothing’s worse than having an unhappy customer, especially if you forced the square peg through the round hole.  Leaving them happy, even happy with another solution, can feel pretty good, especially when they come back around.