Memory Slips That Can Cost You Sales
By Roger Seip
begin to sweat and you avoid eye contact with someone you know
is a client, but you just can’t remember his name. Your heart sinks
as you hang up the phone after a phone call with a furious prospect;
you forgot you’d made an appointment with her. You pound your
forehead in frustration as you realize, too late, what you should have
told a customer that would have made the sale.
ever thought, “If only I’d been born with a better memory, I’d
be better at sales?” The good news is that you don’t have to be
born with a great memory! Like almost anything related to sales,
memory improvement is a learned
skill that anyone can cultivate. You can
become a highly effective and well-respected sales person. Begin by
learning how to prevent these sticky memory-related situations that
you may already have experienced.
Memory Slip #1: Instantly forgetting a prospect’s name: You meet a
prospect and shake his hand. He tells you his name, and no sooner does
the handshake break than you have forgotten it. Socially, people find
very few things more annoying than having their names forgotten or
mispronounced, and in sales, what’s annoying can become deeply
offensive, enough so that you can lose sales.
immediately forget a prospect’s name, two challenges arise. First,
because you know that you have forgotten the name, you become totally
preoccupied with trying to remember it, so it’s difficult to pay
attention to what the person is saying. Second, if the prospect
perceives that you’ve forgotten his or her name, it sends a very
negative message about you, as if you don’t care about the person or
as if you’re not very smart. Typically, neither of these perceptions
is true, but if you can’t pay attention long enough to remember a
name, you give that impression.
little practice, you’ll find that this particular memory slip is the
easiest to avoid. First, slow
down and listen. Focus on the customer for five seconds at the
beginning of the introduction and concentrate on his or her name.
Next, repeat the person’s name back to him or her in a
conversational manner. When someone says, “My name is Bob,”
respond with, “Bob. Nice to meet you, Bob.”
Memory Slip #2: Forgetting the name of an established client: If
you’re a real estate agent, for example, you may run into someone at
a meeting that you sold a house to or for, or if you’re a car
dealer, you may go blank as you see a previous customer showing up
unexpectedly on the lot. Most often, this slip occurs when you meet
the client outside the context of your profession: You know that you
know the person, but you don’t know how. You may even remember the
details of the sales transaction, but you can’t for the life of you
remember the person’s name.
phenomenon is not only frustrating and embarrassing; it can also cost
you a lot of money. Learning to avoid such a situation takes a
commitment to work on improving your memory. You can improve your
chances of remembering a forgotten client’s name by learning to
manage your stress. When you know that you know something, but you
can’t pull it up in your mind, it’s usually because you are
stressing yourself out about it. The stress blocks your brain’s
ability to retrieve the information. So try taking a deep breath and
doing a little positive self-talk. Tell yourself, “You know that you
know this. Just hang in there and be a little patient.” Oftentimes,
the name or other necessary information will then come to you.
Memory Slip #3: Forgetting an appointment or showing up late.: Any
sales person knows that showing up late is terrible, but forgetting an
appointment altogether is even worse. The solution is simple but
requires a commitment on your part to be better organized and to take
the time you need to plan. Many common memory challenges arise when
people have too much going on and try to rush to get everything done.
The key here is to be systematic. Take an hour once a week to
review what you have coming up and to plan what you need to do and
Memory Slip #4: “I should have said…”: If you’ve ever
thought of the perfect thing to say to someone ten minutes after you
needed to say it…you’re just like every other human in the world.
But in a professional context, this can easily cost you a sale. Have
you ever thought of the perfect answer to someone’s question or
objection right after the
prospect walked out the door? Wondering why you didn’t make the
sale, your brain suddenly turns up again and you think, “Oh, no!
I’m so stupid! I should’ve said that!”
(Or shown them that property
or demonstrated that feature
or followed that procedure
in my sales manual.)
overcome this challenge by memorizing information systematically.
Systematic learning is not rote memorization – the way you learned
your multiplication tables – but developing a system to help you
store and retrieve information easily.
information and train your memory, you must learn to speak the
language of your memory, which means creating pictures. When you must
recall information, if you can see
something, it becomes much easier to recall it, even with a great deal
of detail. Creating mental images and an organizational system in your
brain will make the information easier to find; if it’s in a big
pile, you may know it’s there somewhere, but who knows how long it
will take you to find it!
Learning leads to confidence, the key to success: Sales
professionals need to take their business seriously enough to put
effort into learning. Many “wing it,” and don’t make nearly as
much money as they want to as a result. No one gets rich in selling by
accident. Those who dedicate themselves to learning and growing are
always the most successful.
news is that you can learn to overcome memory slips and will grow as
an effective sales person as you do, because you will gain greater
confidence. All other
things being equal, the salesperson with more confidence will always
get the business over someone who has less . The formula for success
is the same as the formula for improving your memory: preparation,
listening, and proper learning.
Read other articles and learn more
about Roger Seip.
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