The Green Sheet Online Edition
May 09, 2011 • Issue 11:05:01
Learn to make use of conflict
||"Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win."|
– Sun Tzu
When you are an ISO or merchant level salesperson (MLS), conflict is part of your working life. Going to war with competitors is just part of the business. It is important to keep in mind conflict is a process not a result.
In The Art of War, the revered ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu reminds his students, "The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting." When you are making a sales call it is critical to prepare yourself like a warrior, honing your skills, developing your strategies and understanding your objectives. Most important, you need to carry a right attitude, that is, confidence and enthusiasm, into your sales meetings.
Conflict is normal
Sales professionals know conflict is a normal and constructive part of doing business. Many relish competition and conflict as an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of the business, solution skills and problem solving against those of their competitors.
The best sales professionals carry themselves with self-confidence and have the courage to tackle any situation or objection that stands in the way of making their sale.
Often, a winning attitude results in ideas and strategies that produce win-win negotiations where both sides come away with value-added packages. A sales call is no place for passive-aggressive behavior. Conflict is a fact of business and avoiding it is not the path to sales success.
What to remember
Here are some things to remember when conflict arises:
- If a customer questions prices, products or services, look at this as an opportunity to differentiate your products from your competitors' and a chance to highlight where your products out perform the competition.
- It takes two people to have a conflict, and it takes two people to resolve it. Be ready to talk about differences and find solutions. To resolve the conflict, you will have to consider the needs of the other person. Compromise is not weakness. When good solutions are reached good relationships are formed.
- When you don't win an account, find out why, and use the experience as an opportunity to take a second look at your opinions, ideas and perceptions. Conflict can result in better solutions.
- Make notes after your sales calls. Competition stimulates thinking and sharpens judgment.
Trust and conflict can coexist
Finally, do not let conflict undermine trust. MLSs and their customers have different issues. Those differences can result in conflict but they don't have to result in a lack of trust.
After a dispute is resolved, follow up with a note, a phone call or another way for the merchant to offer feedback. Giving your customers the last word can go a long way toward winning trust and forming lasting, profitable relationships.
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