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The chopped salad is just ok

A bowl of chopped salad with grated cheese on top

Customers begin a sales process with skepticism. Their job is often to sort out the facts from the fiction, and because the salesperson’s interests aren’t always aligned with the customer, they have to often find the “cons” on their own while being deluged with all the “pros”.

One insurance company has successfully accomplished this by offering to proactively provide competitive quotes for prospects, even with the possibility of sharing competing information that will lose the sale. The result? Increased trust in that brand before they even engage with the customer. Any service professional can be effective by sharing candid information, not just positive aspects about their brand.

SELLERS: Customers have to get answers they can trust. So if yours isn’t realistic, or credible, they’ll have to determine the answer for themselves.

BUYERS: Here are 3 ways you can improve the usability of a vendor’s answers.

1) ask them what aspect of their product/service/solution isn’t as good as it should be. If they don’t give you a good answer, ask it again. Every business can improve. If they consider you a real prospective “partner” then you deserve that level of candor. It’s unlikely that everything on the menu is amazing.

2) ask them “what’s a reasonable criticism of your company” – here are some good answers:

– “we’re more expensive than the competition”

– “we aren’t open 7 days a week”

– “our geographical coverage is limited”

3) ask “what you’re saying sounds good but what if I don’t have that kind of experience, am I able to get out of my (purchase/commitment/contract)?”  – then make sure the paperwork matches what they tell you.

When you’re torn between two salads and a waiter tells you “the chopped salad is just ok, but the Caesar Salad is our signature dish”  you trust the waiter more than if they say “It’s all great”.

Salespeople, you don’t have to disparage your brand to earn a customer’s trust. But a little candor goes a long way.

And if you’re buying, look for the blemishes – if you’re not told of any, you’re going to have to find them yourself, usually after the sale is complete.

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