We all do it. Some even say you must do it. We size up a customer, put them in a little box and in doing so, take the pressure off of ourselves.

If they are hard to work with, it’s not our process or our system, it’s them. If someone is demanding or one of ‘those clients’ it has nothing to do with the holes they just shot in our sales process or contracts or internal support system, right?

The motivation for this post came from a recent trip to get my oil changed. I like the place I go to for one simple reason: they include a free car wash. My standards are a bit low, I know, but who doesn’t love a car wash? I hate the place I go to, however, because like any oil change place, the up-sell game and fear-driven tactics nauseate me. I quickly shut them down. Just the basic, please. A new guy asked me to confirm my information on his CRM screen so I looked it over and at the same time noticed a note on my record that said, ‘very cheap, don’t waste your time.’ I was tempted to be hurt, but then I laughed. To them, I’m cheap. To me, I just know what I want and don’t want to play their games. So yes, I guess that makes me cheap.

Or, could it be that I don’t fit into your tiny box of how to do sales? What if instead of having your set of options and up-sell opportunities you find a better way of reaching my type of ‘cheap’ customer? Yes, I don’t buy into all the crap you try to throw at me, but I am crazy consistent and ONLY get my oil changed here. You can see from my record that I’ve been doing that for years and I do that with multiple cars.

But to you I’m cheap. Really? That’s all you got? Is there another angle you can take with me so I do feel more compelled to buy?

That’s the problem with labels. If you just want the quick win, one-off deal, keep doing what you’re doing. If you want to build a business that grows in trust and revenue from all types of buyers (cheap and ignorant) then don’t just peg me so quickly. Work harder. Sell better. Frame it differently.

As I write this I think of the potential lost sales we’ve experienced by doing this same thing. It’s easy to label. It’s harder to grow.

Photo credit: z287marc

With over a decade of experience, I have managed online marketing for a wide range of industries including biotech, high-tech, financial, higher education, non-profit, manufacturing, hardware providers, and startups. My specialty is helping business make the right turn with their online efforts focusing on lead generation and analytics.

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