So many salespeople and service technicians are put off by customers who don’t welcome them warmly and hang on their every word. That’s just wrong! What do you care if they’re jerks? I love it when they’re hard to get along with.
When my prospect is an argumentive, know-it-all who’s difficult to communicate with, and/or rude, I know that, in those cases, two out of three of my competitors will take themselves out of the competition because they don’t think they can sell a jerk and, if they could, wouldn’t want to do work for a jerk.
I don’t care if my customers have no social or communication skills, as long as they have the money to pay me when I’m done.
Case in Point
I’ll never forget the time I showed up on a replacement lead, and when the customer opened the door, I said, “Hello. I’m Charlie, with Modern Air.” So far, so good, right?. In a very sarcastic tone, he said, “Oh, so you’re Charlie … with Modern Air. Well, tell me, Charlie with Modern Air, do you know anything about air conditioning, or are you just a salesman?”
I was totally taken aback and speechless. I stood in the door stammering and stuttering. He then proceeded to order me around and disagreed with everything I said. Before I knew it, I was drawn into one argument after another. No prospect or customer has ever made me angrier. I actually caught myself wondering whether or not it would be worth it to do a little time in jail for hitting him.
Fortunately, that thought process didn’t get much of a chance to develop because, before I knew it, and totally out of the blue, he bought. Not only did he buy, but his neighbor, who was also present, decided to buy a new air conditioner from me at the same time as well.
That whole situation puzzled me for years. I wondered, why would you invite someone to your home and be so rude right at the front door? It just didn’t make sense.
Why the Rudeness?
I think I know what happened. We’re all professionals here, so we can be frank. The truth is, the vast majority of people out there selling air conditioning don’t know much about it. These two homeowners had more than likely spoken with a number of air conditioning salespeople and were fed up with them not knowing their product or being able to answer their questions with authority. I’ll bet you that, just before I showed up, the man I talked to said to himself, “This time, I’ll do all the talking. Before I even let him in, I’m going to ask him straight up, ‘Do you know anything about air conditioning, or are you just a salesman?’
Don’t take it personally when they give you trouble. If you’ve done nothing wrong, it has nothing to do with you. Their behavior toward you is probably a result of their life’s experiences. When people have a high level of expectation and put you on a pedestal, it’s pretty easy to disappoint them. When they have a very low level of expectation, it’s very easy to make a favorable impression.
Do Jerks Buy?
Ever been to a nice restaurant and had the server who was too friendly and too talkative? My understanding is that you know it’s really good service when you hardly notice the server. When I go to a restaurant, I’m not there to make friends or talk with the server. I’m there to talk with the person I’m eating with, and it’s frequently about business, so I want a minimum of interruptions.
I don’t want to listen to anyone’s idle chit chat, which I’m sure classifies me as a jerk to some servers, even though I tip well and I’m fairly easy to please. Sometimes our customers don’t want to make friends — all they want is for us to make their heating or air conditioning run right and then for us to be on our way.
Just because someone doesn’t warm up to you, it doesn’t make them a jerk, and it doesn’t mean they won’t buy. In fact, it’s a fairly good indication that they mean business and intend to buy without delay. Jerks are often the easiest sale you’ll make all day.
Mental Cleansing Exercise
People tend to mirror the behavior of others, so if I get offended and start sulking, they tend to sulk too. When someone gets on my nerves, I get alone for just 15 or 20 seconds, and say to myself, “I’m not letting anything that has already occurred on this call have any effect on the ultimate outcome,” and I go back to work.
Often, as soon as I’ve done this mental cleansing exercise, the very next time I see the customer, even if we’d had instant negative chemistry before, everything has somehow changed for the better. I believe this works because people tend to want to get along, especially with people who are there to work on their heating and air conditioning, so if I’m willing to let bygones be bygones, so are they.