Prepare For the Unexpected

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Being a passenger in a New York City taxicab is often a wild, exhilarating ride. The combination of heavy traffic, numerous pedestrians, plus construction and other obstacles, means that when a cab driver does see an open patch of road ahead, the temptation is to accelerate until yet another roadblock forces them to stop.

On a recent visit to New York, I was driving near the airport and spotted what I thought was a NYC taxi, speeding in the fast lane of the highway, weaving through traffic. The taxi posed a danger to other drivers like myself, but what was not immediately apparent was that the cab was actually following another car.

My first reaction was, “I wish there was a police office around to witness this dangerous driving and pull the taxi over.” Imagine my surprise, then, when the cab put on its police lights and siren and pulled over the vehicle it was following a short distance ahead.

This undercover police car replicated a real taxicab in virtually every way, including its distinctive yellow color, fare information printed on the door and even the off-duty light illuminated on top of the roof. As a driver, this scenario certainly fooled me—and most likely, tricks many others each day.

As a salesperson, always be prepared for those things that you may not expect, even when all the signs point to what may seem obvious. Buyers increasingly camouflage their intentions, and they have more and more tools to do their own research before you are ever brought into the sales process. In that respect, there really is nothing “obvious” about selling any longer, even if there were things that were taken for granted in years past.

Don’t ever assume that you know the agenda or what the buyer is thinking. Similarly, don’t be deceived by your client’s vagueness and apparent indecision. With nearly universal access to information, your buyers know more than they’ve ever known about your products, your competitors, and your industry. In fact, it’s likely that you know less than ever before about your buyers’ true thoughts, as they have less reason to fully express themselves, until they are ready to buy.

Ultimately, a customer who is educated about your products is a good thing, but it may require that you take a more flexible approach to the selling process, and the conclusion may be far different than you thought at the beginning.


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