Avoid Losing a Sale by Not Doing What I Did

Yesterday I made a classic sales mistake. We ran out of gallon shampoos and processed the customer’s order anyway. (But that’s not the mistake.)

Shortly after the online transaction the customer sent this email:

And here’s Lisa’s response:

Now here’s where I goofed. I focused on the customer’s request which was issuing a refund instead of the job she wanted to get done which was relieving her dog of allergy symptoms.

Because I was focused on the request, and not the job I sent the email below internally to get authorization for a refund.

Fortunately, my brother was focused on the job to be done, not the request and suggested this email instead:

Here’s Lisa’s response:

By focusing on the job (the dog with allergies that needed relief), my brother was able to create a win-win by shipping a bottle of the same product in a smaller size that we had in stock. If he was in “order taker” mode, he would have issued a refund which wouldn’t have helped the customer solve her problem.

Putting this all together

It’s easy to fall into the “order taker” trap like I did. Your prospect says they want to redesign their website. You want to make them happy. So you jump right into asking questions to get a sense of scope, calculate the hours and start doing the work.

But your success depends on the success of your customer. Redesigning a website is a means to an end. A redesign doesn’t help your customer be more successful. Why does the customer want to redesign their site? Are they trying to increase conversion rates for mobile traffic? Increase leads? Something else?

Knowing the difference between the “job to be done” and “the thing” people say they want allows you to best serve your prospect.

One last thing . . .

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