You are having a conversation with someone and they blurt something out that is offensive and rude… you don’t know what to say or feel. The crazy part is you didn’t even ask for their opinion. At first you are a little embarrassed because they caught you off guard, then you get defensive and protective, and then you get completely turned off. Whether they are a long time friend or a first time contact a rude opinion can be detrimental to the relationship. Many times you will not get another chance to redeem yourself. In business and sales it is even more crucial to be conscious of the delivery of your opinions. Learn how to be a strong business person that delivers your message without being rude or harsh.
Never offend your customer by bad mouthing their current services or processes. You will not earn respect by telling them the way they have done business or are currently doing business is wrong. You may have a great product or service that is going to make their life easier, but criticizing their current method you will quickly offend the client. When offering a product or service tell them some key features, and help the client see why your service will benefit them. If you have to constantly insult their current vendor or practices you may never get an opportunity back in the door. Let the customer tell you the faults of their system and products. Sometimes sales people come in so aggressive that the client refuses to make upgrades just to avoid the offensive sales person.
Don’t offer unwelcomed opinions. Let your prospect open up the door about the current way they do business. Listen carefully to what is working for them and what isn’t work. Repeat to the them what you heard. Acknowledge that you understand their needs and wants before you pitch your solution. You can do this by saying “I know you are currently getting this, and would you be interested in something that could help you with that and more?” If you give them your reason for why they should use you before you know anything about their current situation you will come off pushy and ignorant. How can you help them when you don’t even know about their business or problems?
Do not use slang or negativity. Using words that are slang or negative come off as impolite and abrasive in business. I did business with an acquaintance once and he used the word “dumb” to describe something I did that he did not agree with. He found this to be a perfectly acceptable way to converse with me to get his opinion across. I’m not sure if that is the way he always spoke to his business acquaintances or if he just felt comfortable with me. Instead of me taking him serious, I ended the business relationship. Why would I want to work with someone that would use a word as simple and negative as dumb when discussing business matters? When you are doing business with friends or casual acquaintances speak to them just as you would any business partner. Using slang or negativity will only leave you looking unprofessional and potentially insult the other person.
Do not assume everyone has your same sense of humor. It is great to have a playful side when doing business, but be careful when you are in business meetings. You can keep conversations upbeat and enjoyable but never talk about sensitive issues that could potentially offend someone. The person may even seem to laugh at your humor but secretly could be very offended and not give you a second chance. If they choose to take the subject to an inappropriate place try to change the topic quickly so that you are not put in an uncomfortable position. Maintaining a level of professionalism is important even when you go off path into lighthearted conversations.
Great sales people tend to become very passionate about what they are selling. It is a wonderful place to be in when you truly believe in what you are pitching, but it is so important to make sure you walk a fine line of giving your prospects solutions for their business as opposed to insulting their business.