Today's blog post may be of particular interest to organisations or individuals involved in direct sales.
Picture the scene: you've managed to sweet talk a potential customer over several phone calls and emails to finally meet you. You have your presentation slides, brochures, pitch and your slick responses to any objections they may raise.
Back at your company's head office is a printed memo from your sales director demanding that you hit the monthly target...or else!
Time is of the essence and you need to close this deal.
If you're an experienced sales person, you might work out relatively quickly - in a face-to-face situation - whether the customer is 'good to go' and likely to make a purchase.
But some customers are a little more difficult to read and may be perfectly happy to have a chat over a few hours and several cups of tea (and perhaps a few biscuits), while you ramble on enthusiastically about the features and benefits of your product or service.
You're feeling good and feel the tension ease from your shoulders as you've snatched victory from the jaws of defeat (pardon the pun!), and you're within striking distance of hitting your target.
Then the meeting takes a different turn. The would-be client starts gathering their papers and looks pointedly at their watch. They have used up their allocation of 'meeting time' and need to get on with the rest of their day.
Your hand freezes on the pen you have at the ready to sign on the dotted line. You conjure up a fake smile through gritted teeth, while the definitely-not-interested-prospect bids you a cheery goodbye without an order in sight.
You've wasted a lot of time and are furious. Your boss is not going to greet the news with a smiley face and a pat on the back, so your shoulders tense up again in preparation for the ear chewing that's likely to follow.
To cap it all, your job is even more on the line.
If you're lucky, you might get a 'second-second' chance. You vow that you will never get caught again, so need to learn how to read microexpressions to help separate the 'real' potential customers from the 'fakes'.
Here's a useful guide from American Express Open Forum that provides a basic understanding of facial cues. The infographic design is by Little Badger.
Thoughts on customer service, communication and, of course, reputation management.