Candour as a Relationship Builder

Many sales people are afraid to use candour as a relationship builder with their customers and prospects. They have been trained to “sell themselves first”.
In this effort to sell themselves first, they have placed being “liked” ahead of being respected as a marketing partner. In their quest to be liked, these glad-handers often fear opening the challenging and meaningful dialogue necessary to understand their customer’s goals.
These friendly sales types will often take every answer they get in a Customer Needs Analysis (CNA) at face value. If a prospect claims they “give better service” than their competitors, for example, these sales people will smile and say something like, “that’s nice”.
True advisors have mastered the art of playing devil’s advocate during the CNA process on their way to building stronger client relationships and more relevant ad campaigns.
Professionals will explain to their prospects why they play the role of a skeptical customer. When the client suggests they, “give better service,” the professional will say something like, “I’m playing a skeptical customer. Prove to me that you give better service.”
In our Becoming a Master Questioner training, we train media sales professionals to enter into their CNA’s with phrases like, “Before I can sell our audience on why they should do business with you, you have to sell me on why they should do business with you.”
This candid and frank approach may seem confrontational, but handled correctly, will be the building block for much stronger customer relationships than the old “smile and pretend to agree” approach to CNA’s.