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Karim could have applied a “positive tension” by promising an added service if the contract was closed on the same day. Also, cornering a prospective buyer to sign a contract will not bring repeat business.

fixing up the next meeting. Once, we even stormed into the customer’s office, introduced me as the VP of sales, talked to them, stuck the contract in their faces and made them sign.” I interrupted, “Interesting. What was the dialogue between you and the prospective buyer? Did you ask questions or talk about the company?” Karim carried on, “No, I tell my sales persons not to ask too many questions. I have taught them to tell the customers what they need to know and to ask if the buyers have any questions. If the buyers reply that they have no questions, then we pass them the contract and say ‘Great, sign here.’ Of course, we had to find out who their contract was with, how much they were paying and when the contract expired. Then, I told them that they were overpaying and they could sign now for the ‘real’ price and take what they were paying down by about 20%.” “Did they sign?” I asked. “Jennifer, we stayed in their office until they signed, and a lot of them did. They could not get rid of us,” Karim added. “Is your company offering something different or better? How did you convert them,” I asked. “Well, they liked the fact that I came, because it shows energy and persistence. Jen, they were not used to their supplier coming to their office, and they liked the lower price. We have nothing more to offer them, as our service is the same as our competitors. There is not that much room for customisation,” Karim continued. “Some of them felt loyalty towards their supplier and some of them were angry at their supplier, so we made sure we pushed the angry ones to convert, using a lower price.”

“Wow, so it worked for all of them?” I asked excitedly. “With some of them it did, and with others it didn’t. Our competitors figured out what we were doing and sent out renewal forms with even lower prices to the customers we had already seen and also to the customers we had not seen yet. They thought they were going to outsmart us. So, do you know what we did? When we came back the second time to their customer, we took off another 20% just to make sure the customer saw that their current supplier was still deceiving them.” “Wow Karim, that is quite aggressive. How did the customer react?” I was so intrigued by these methodologies.

The good Take control: Karim abandoned the reliance of “relationship based” selling and took the bull by the horns. He did well in going to see the prospective buyer, provoking a pattern change.


Form an objective per sales call: Karim and his sales force formed an objective as per sales call. The objective did not include their service presentation or get to know the customer. “I told them our objective – we are taking the market away from others.”


Train your team: Karim took it upon himself to go into the field with his team to show them how his sales process works. On-the-job training is the most effective way to increase learning retention.


Use authority: The prospects felt flattered that the company’s VP of sales took the time to see them. Karim used his authority to influence the buyer’s perspective of his sales effort.


Cutting prices devalues your product. It is more effective to show how your price equals the value you are promising. Karim should have asked the buyer what he was looking for in health and safety services and then matched that with his service offering and price.

“Some of them liked it and some of them felt suspicious, but we stayed until we obtained an answer. We even followed one guy to his car to sign, and he asked us to leave him alone,” Karim added. I couldn’t believe it, so I asked, “Do you think that customers will stay with you for a long time? Do you think these are the best methodologies?”

Determine the budget and timeline: Karim made it a point to find out the time and budget parameters to qualify the prospect.


Be persistent: Karim attempted to close a contract at the first contact meeting. His urgency pushed the customer into a buying decision.


The good, the bad and the ugly Karim did apply many effective selling approaches, but he and his team made some lethal mistakes. He committed the good, the bad and the ugly of sales.

February 2012


Private Sector Qatar - Feb2012  

English version - February 2012