The Third Turn

Dr. Mark L. Vincent's Blog

There is nothing like a sales presentation to deepen my commitment to process consulting

Posted by Mark L. Vincent on Oct 29, 2014 9:25:12 AM

My wife and I are long-time and happy time-share owners. We use them for recreation and business. We use them as a way to gather friends and colleagues. We use them as a way to slow down our pace, and amazingly, to increase our productivity (but only when we aren't outside having fun).

About once a year we accept an opportunity to listen to what is happening in the industry--especially as it timesharerelates to our ownership--realizing that there is going to be a pitch to try to get us to buy even more. There is nothing like this presentation to remind me of everything I do not want to do when inviting people to consider making use of my company's expertise.

  • In the most recent sales experience we were asked to fill out a survey describing how we use our time shares. It was introduced as a tool our "Senior Executive Consultant" would use to tailor their recommendations for us. We filled it out but it was never looked at once. He didn't even take it to add to our file once the presentation was over.
  • A sales manager was brought in presumably to show us how we could save some money, but proceeded to show us how we could spend more. He tried again, showing us how to spend a little less more money. He didn't listen to what the "consultant" was telling him just as the "consultant" had not listened to us.
  • They tried hard, looking at our "need" from four or five different approaches, each time showing us how we could spend more in order to save a little, the math never working out.
  • Finally, when we said, "no thank you" and they had run out of approaches, they rudely stood up and walked away, pointing towards the door.  We had to see ourselves out. We were not given their business cards in order to be in touch later if we had second thoughts.

How I would have staged and conversation, and how I would want to treat clients in a similar situation--even when the response is "no"--would run like this.

  • I would take the time to read and digest the information the client/customer provided, taking time to summarize what they are telling me and thinking with them about what might make their experience with my product or service a better and more fulfilling one. If, in that conversation, we discovered that they would like to save money, I would seek to discover what "saving money" looked like to them. Short term cash flow? Long term investment? Both? Is the time frame important?  Perhaps we might have something that meets these desires or at least comes close. If so, I describe it and ask if they would like to take a closer look at the possibility(ies). I wouldn't just disappear and suddenly thrust in a person who knows even less about the context.
  • With a specific outcome I am assured that my client seeks, I would go to the sales manager, if required, as an advocate for the client rather than as an advocate for the highest possible commission I can get from them. I would do this believing that excellent treatment of my client substantially increases the possibility of my getting referrals for people they want to send to me.
  • If, after multiple attempts to help the client meet their needs in ways they recognize as sincere care for their regard, we cannot achieve an outcome, I would graciously offer my thanks for their time, make sure they had my business card (and that I had theirs so I could thank them again for their visit via a subsequent e-mail or phone message), and walk them to the door, making my courteous assistance consistent throughout their experience with me.

I aspire to this, God being my helper!

-mark l vincent



Topics: process consulting, organizational development consulting, process vs. product, Mark L. Vincent, Design Group International, sales pipeline, process vs. sales


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