Recently I got an email from an astute seller who wanted to know how to handle an opportunity he'd uncovered.
A local firm had sent him an e-newsletter with a huge graphic in it directing readers to their website. When he clicked through, he landed on a poorly designed, visually unattractive page. He then examined the rest of the site - and it only got worse.
He was thrilled! You see, his company develops websites and it was obvious that this firm desperately needed his help.
He was all set to call up the president and tell him just how bad that website was. His list of what was wrong with it was a mile long. Fortunately, he contacted me before he embarked on this potentially sales-derailing endeavor.
Why do I say that? Because he has no idea how the company's president felt about the website.
Perhaps he'd designed it himself. Perhaps he'd recently invested thousands of dollars with another web company to bring it "up" to this level. Perhaps he just loved it.
Should any of these have been true, the company president could have been grossly offended by the seller's approach. From his perspective, the seller called his baby ugly and that's unacceptable.
He'll either shut down entirely, ending any chance of doing business with him. Or, he's going to make a verbal comeback that will be hard to recover from. Imagine how you might feel and react if he'd said, "My wife's company created it for us."
So how do you handle things when you discover that a company is doing something that is clearly (at least in your opinion) substandard?
First of all, be very judicious. Don't make blatant comments about the poor quality of their products, services or processes.
Focus on ideas to help them achieve their business objectives. Share stories about how you're helping other customers solve issues and challenges. Be specific in terms of the outcomes you've helped them realize. Educate them on what's possible.
When you approach them from this frame of mind, these corporate parents won't feel compelled to defend their ugly baby. Instead, you pique their interest and they want to meet with you. That's what works - and mother truly does know best!
Announcing the Ugly Baby Contest
Ever called a (prospective) client's baby ugly? If so, what happened and how did you handle your clients response? Were you able to recover? Don't forget to share your stories on this blog to be entered in my "Ugly Baby" contest.
This contest starts now and ends on Sunday, June 10th.