Seller’s Remorse

At some point in our lives, we’ve all experienced the dreaded, “Buyer’s Remorse.” Quite frankly, I think it’s more of an anomaly to not feel some sort of remorse after a difficult buying decision. Usually, the larger the decision, the greater the feelings of remorse can be.  When you sell for a living, you learn to pay attention to the feelings a customer can experience. The seller can provide support – not just during the decision-making process, but after that process has been completed.  The shocker is that those who sell for a living can experience remorse as well, and the repercussions can be devasting.

When you’re a sales person, you live to sell; it’s in your blood.  You are programmed to turn suspects into prospects – prospects into qualified prospects – and qualified prospects to satisfied customers.  It’s as easy as that.

Just in case it isn’t quite as “easy as that,” most sales people receive a commission to help motivate them to sell. They have sales managers who will add a little more “encouragement” to help motivate them to sell – and those sales people are often engaged in sales contests and bonuses. Before you know it, a sales person is unconsciously developing a mantra to say to him or herself: “If it moves, I’m selling it!”

Of course, you don’t really want to sell everyone… do you?  There are lines that sales people should never cross as well as lines that customers should never cross, but sometimes those lines get blurred, and they get blurred by the thoughts of all the motivation being received.

When that happens, we stop listening to our instincts, and plow forward.  After all, if it moves, you’re selling it.  For the record, there is often another voice that whispers, “I’m not so sure you want to sell this person,” but it’s drowned out by thoughts of victory, commission, bonuses, and ego.  It’s a shame, because that’s a whisper that needs to be listened to.

Most people who don’t sell think those who do have an easy job.  They’re wrong.  Sales people must live with rejection, often on a daily basis.  They must live with an unsteady, and often unpredictable, income.  But these issues pale in comparison to the difficulty that comes with the seller’s remorse that takes hold when you make the mistake of selling something to the wrong customer.

The fact is, one of the worst experiences a sales person can live through is selling to the wrong customer.  A bad customer can create legal issues.  A bad customer can create time management issues.  A bad customer can create emotional stress.  A bad customer can cost a sales person his or her job.  I’ve personally witnessed when a bad customer cost one of my colleagues his career.

The worst part of seller’s remorse is I’ve never met anyone who has retold a story that involved seller’s remorse ever say anything but, “I knew this customer was going to be trouble the moment I met them.”

It remains a mystery to me why we spend so much time teaching others how to sell and win, but little to no time teaching people how to walk away from a deal that he or she should not want to win. Personally, I think it starts with turning the volume up on those whispers you might be hearing and paying attention to the messages you are receiving. If you do, it may cost you a sale in the short run, but extend your career in the long run.

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