A need for quality control
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A need for quality control

March 29, 2006

The Telephone Doctor: Are you passive, average or proactive?Nancy FriedmanSales tips
Take the Telephone Doctor's one-minute quiz and find out. Read
the scenario below and ask yourself, "Which sales type am I?"
Either on the phone or in person, a customer says, "Tell you
what .. I've decided not to take the Blue Widget."
†The passive person answers "OK"--The customer feels
nothing.
†The average person answers "You sure?"--The customer feels
slighted.
†The proactive person answers "Wow, it's really a great
Widget and there's a Widget-maker that goes with it for not a lot
more money. Why not keep it? You'll love it."--The customer feels
great and buys the Widget and the Widget-maker.
See the difference? Now, which one are you?
To excel in sales, do you need to be passive, average or
proactive? And if you're one of these types (passive, average or
proactive), which is the best to be? These are all good questions.
Let's determine which is best and why.
Passive
The Telephone Doctor's definition of passive is "someone who
accepts information and does nothing with it." Here's what the
dictionary says: "Receiving or subjected to an action without
responding or initiating an action in return; the mind viewed as a
passive receptacle for sensory experience." My definition is just
simpler!
Passive does not mean a person is bad or shouldn't be in sales.
It simply means he is passive, not active. Are there passive
salespeople? Of course there are. The thing about being passive is
that most people don't like to be called that. Passive individuals
receive information and do nothing with it. It happens all the
time. You go into the grocery store and hand the cashier your
check, which has your name on it. Sometimes, the cashier asks you
for identification. And then he does whatever it is he needs to do,
hands you back your ID, and says, "Thank you." No other words are
exchanged. Even though the cashier had your name, it was never
used. This person is passive. Passive individuals receive
information and do nothing with it. The cashier had your name
twice--once on the check and once on the ID. But again, it's not a
bad thing. From my experience, those that are in the passive mode
and put into sales are, in truth, uncomfortable. Not bad, just
uncomfortable. They're not at ease telling others what is best for
them. So if you have passive individuals on your sales team, talk
with them; be sure they're happy. Be sure they're comfortable in
their job. My bet is that they're probably not quite there yet.
Average
It's a fact that it is easier to get an average person to be
proactive than it is to get a passive person up to average. It just
is. Let's see what the dictionary says about average: "Medium,
mediocre, fair, middling, indifferent, tolerable."
Fact--there is a mass of average folks out there ... millions of
them. I don't want to be one of them. I'm not sure about you, but I
made a decision a long time ago that I didn't want to be average. I
didn't want to be in the mass of mediocrity. Again, average folks
aren't bad. They're fine, upstanding citizens. But they're
average--like a lot of people. And they don't stand out to be
remembered. If you're in sales, you want to be remembered. Average
individuals receive information and honestly try to do something
with what they receive. It's just that they don't seem to be able
to get over the hurdle. Average folks say a lot of things like
"Wow" and "Gee, that's so interesting." Telephone Doctor calls
those "agreement statements," used when they really don't know what
to say. So you see, they're not bad--just not effective.
I'm not sure about you, but those words that define average are
nothing I'd like to be called. Yet, day after day, millions of
people--including salespeople--go about their business being
average. And yes, average people make sales. They do. And sometimes
they even fall into a large order. In truth, it's usually not
something that they're responsible for doing. The sale just fell
into their laps. Average people go about their business being sort
of happy with themselves when they could be so much more. It's sad.
I know some average folks I'd love to take under my wing to help
them be slightly more proactive.
Proactive Ah yes--it's the proactive people in
this world that make things happen. They find the sales. They are
detectives. They ask more questions, look a little deeper and
always double check to be sure. Very few proactive people take no
as an acceptable--or a final--answer. Proactive individuals are
exceptional. They are naturally inquisitive. They know it can be
done. Proactive people love sales. They eat, sleep and drink sales.
They love to talk sales, think sales and do sales. The sale is
never boring to a proactive person. A proactive salesperson isn't
necessarily a workaholic. They enjoy vacations and can even relax
on them. But back at work, they have the ability to turn on.
Normally upbeat and happy, proactive salespeople seldom wallow in
negativity or self-pity. They're somehow able to turn that negative
into a positive. Proactive people find a way to get it done. They
know it can be done. They make one more call, research a little
more thoroughly, answer one more question, write up one more sale
and never run out of questions to ask. Proactive people think for
their clients. They have solutions. They enjoy solving problems for
clients. They enjoy success.
So again, I ask, which one are you?
Nancy Friedman is president of Telephone Doctor Customer
Service Training in St. Louis. For more information, call (314)
291-1012 or visit www.telephonedoctor.com.

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