I had a very interesting experience recently. I was looking for a graphic designer to help me with a new website. The gal I wanted to work with was unavailable and she referred me to three other providers. I checked each one’s website and decided to talk with one specifically. I liked his portfolio and his transparency in his values evident on his site.
We had a call of about an hour and really hit it off and I was looking for a proposal. At this point, I was already sold and simply needed to make sure the numbers meshed with what I had planned to invest (notice I don’t budget ever, it is all about planned investment because it has a return on it!)
He sent me a sequence of three emails. The first two shared more of his work and were entirely unnecessary and I hadn’t requested them. This annoyed me because it indicated he wasn’t paying attention to my need for a quote. The last email had unedited chunks of other client’s quotes but nothing customized for my project.
Then it got even more interesting because he sent a long email that was loaded with “i” instead of proper “I” and spelling mistakes. I’m kind of an English grammar nut (uh oh, this is where you pick apart all of my errors and send them to me or comment on them) and this indicated a serious lack of attention to detail and actually made me physically cringe. Not a good sign. He was unselling me outrageously!
In fact, at this point I was so taken aback that I got back in touch with the original talent I wanted to work with and found that if I waited an additional week or two she would be available. I decided to wait.
When I let the graphic designer know that it wasn’t his talent that was in question, but in fact his lack of attention to detail, he suggested I was a “tire kicker.” I reminded him that I had been largely sold on working with him until he unsold himself with additional samples of work not requested, failure to quote my project specifically, and emails laden with grammar errors and spelling challenges. Enough, I’m working with a very talented individual now and will reveal the results soon.
The lesson here is about listening to what your prospect (or client) is really looking for. Deliver to their specifications and quench your desire to overload them with too much information or inaccurate or inappropriate information (like other people’s quotes.) There is never a sure thing in business unless money has traded hands and a contract has been signed. Speaking on the phone or in email demands the same level of professional service that you apply to every other area of your business.
Three Simple Actions to Succeed By in Your Business, Big or Small:
LISTEN (to what the prospect/client really wants and needs)
DELIVER (specifically what is requested)
CLOSE (by proving you listened and have attention to the details that count)
Oh, and in case you were thinking this was a generation gap, it wasn’t. The talent who I checked out and unsold himself is just three years younger than I am. This was not a case of a Millenial working with a Boomer. And even then, for me, that would not be an excuse.
Comment here and tell me when you might have UNSOLD a customer. Or when someone UNSOLD you.