Every now and then you run into a situation that makes you just scratch your head. This week I had such an occasion.
I picked up a client at his hotel, and we headed off to look at a few houses including one in a new build development. My client is telling me how he spent his life in sales and how he does not like salespeople at all, especially Realtors.
Mr. Client was talking about how he gets annoyed when salespeople go around pointing out the obvious like they are adding value. For example, “Over here we have a large kitchen so you have more room to cook. Over here we have a master bathroom with enclosure showers for your bathing pleasure.”
I knew exactly what he was talking about. Do we not think the client knows what a kitchen and bathroom are? I was confident Mr. Client would be happy with me, as I think of myself more as a project manager than a salesperson. My job is to make sure I take care of the project from start (offer) to end (closing).
So Mr. Client and I toured a few resale houses then headed off to the new build community. When we arrived we were greeted by a man we will call “Jack.” Yes, I am writing this as I watch a special on Jack Nicholas and the 1962 US Open showdown against Arnold Palmer.
Jack started asking the basic questions and within just a few minutes started pushing the “Cactus” model on my client telling him how great it was, how it will have the best resale long term, how he is selling it to his mother, and how they have a bunch of them already under construction.
We took off in Jack’s golf cart and headed over to the models. We arrived at the “Cactus” model, but while my client didn’t have any objections to it, he wanted to see the “Palm” model, which was about 200 sq. feet smaller than the “Cactus.”
The whole time we were walking around “Palm,” Mr. Client is telling me, and Jack why he likes this better than “Cactus”. Jack for some reason felt he needed to defend himself and rebut everything Mr. Client said.
Mr. Client was trying to talk himself into the sale but Jack was not listening to what he was saying; if he had, he may have made the sale in the next ten minutes. I am not sure if there was a big bonus on the “Cactus” model or what. But he was hellbent on selling one.
I worked on leading the conversation the way Mr. Client wanted to go, doing my best to send hints to Jack that he should shut up and listen.
The only other thing Mr. Client cared about was a pool and a gym. We headed up to the playhouse, and while Mr. Client was in the bathroom, Jack asked me if Mr. Client would be interested in seeing the library and the tearoom. I told Jack the only thing he cared about was the pool and the gym, if they were nice I was sure Mr. Client would probably be interested in making an offer on a “Palm.”
Jack of course replied with, “But don’t you think the Cactus is a better value?”
“Well, Jack it does not matter what you nor I think is the better value, it is what Mr. Client believes is better.”
We then proceeded, with Mr. Client, to look at the coffee shop, the recreation hall, the pool and finally the gym. Mr. Client was not overly impressed with the gym, but I do not think it was a deal killer because the indoor and outdoor pool greatly pleased him.
Then despite Mr. Client saying thanks to Jack and saying he needed to get back to his hotel, Jack still felt the need to show us the library and theater.
To say Mr. Client was not impressed is an understatement. Sometimes as salespeople, we just need to shut up and listen to the client. When they are telling you exactly what they want, don’t think you know better. We are there to serve and to assist. So, shut up and listen!