…and I would whole-heartedly agree with both those concerns. Rejection is always an unpleasant feeling, in any situation and being a pushy salesperson is simply wrong!
Whilst having a customer say no is not the end of the world, it is always disheartening. Especially when you are proud of the work that you do. But remember, no does not always mean never. It can mean, ‘not yet’.
Being pushy is fundamentally the wrong approach to the sales process, at any time and in the current climate, any advert I see that is blatantly trying to push a product or service my way is a real put-off.
However, professional salespeople know their customers, they do research on them. They listen to them, intently, every time they have an opportunity to converse with them. That is how long-term relationships are built. That is how trust grows.
My advice is to treat your customers like you would treat your family and friends. Keep in touch. Call them and ask how they are. Write to them (email is fine) and ask how they are. If you can, get them to open up about how they see their future. What plans they have. Ask how their staff are (If they have staff).
These are not sales calls. Don’t have a ‘pitch’ ready, just prepare to have a true, honest, open conversation with your customers. They will appreciate it and it will show that you care about them as people, not just customers.
As in all business interactions, preparation is everything. Go over what you already know about each and every customer. Plan good open questions to kick the conversation off and then listen! Listen intently to their answers and base your follow-on question on what they have told you. This is the art of a good conversation.
The most difficult question you will ever have to ask anyone is the first question. If it is a question that shows genuine interest in them, their answer will provide you with your next question, like a gift.
I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
Rudyard Kipling. The Elephants child