Hit the ground running with customers

Ear phones in, my gym treadmill at a fast walking speed, eyes wandering. The man next to me was sprinting on the treadmill, sweat dripping from his brow. It seemed like his phone rang and he jumped off the treadmill leaving it running and he took his call.

I thought how dangerous, as did everyone else watching. How’s he going to get back on with it moving at such a speed?

He did, he carefully held onto the bars for support, started moving his legs in mid-air and hit the treadmill running. Hitting the ground running, so to speak.

We’ve all heard that phrase and it’s vital for the modern salesperson especially if you’re selling to consumers.

Let me briefly explain because this will have a massive influence on you.

We all know that customers are in control when they buy things nowadays, not us. The internet and their Smartphones give them the ability to buy whatever they want without us, gather information about our services and products possibly learning more about them than we ever did in training.

This means when they are with us either face to face or on the phone or on internet live chat or wherever, they’ve already started their process of buying and can be quite advanced along their steps in buying.

So we have to start by hitting the ground running, not by insisting we go to the first stage of our sales process we were taught in training.

The secret is to ask them where they are in their process of buying, quickly gather speed and start where they are. Hit the ground running. It may mean you just have to take the order and close or it may be a specific question they want answering, or the customer may be reluctantly dealing with you because they can’t buy it online.

You still have to sell, don’t do the customer service bit and ask “how may I help you”, no. Find out where they are and hit their buying process running and then sell.

So drop your sales process in favour of their buying process but find out where they are and then catch up and join them there.

Simple really, yet something many of us are just not doing because sales training hasn’t caught up yet.

A bit like my friend in the gym, although he was back on the moving treadmill in one fluid movement. Show off.

I was desperate for a drink, thought shall I do the same but decided against it. So I stopped my treadmill and carefully climbed off. Although I believe you have to work with customers “hitting the ground running” I’m not going to risk that manoeuvre in a gym with everyone watching.