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You Can Always Sell More, By Not Saying ‘It’s No Problem!’

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There‘s a new term that’s crept into today’s selling and service language that’s having a severe and negative impact on our customers...

and how they view our efforts to help them, and I bet it’s a term you’ve used yourself in the last 24 hours when talking with your customer.

And the term is…“No problem!”

I have an unusual food allergy, I’m allergic to garlic and garlic has become a pervasive spice used today in almost all sauces, anything deep fried as well as most foods served at meetings. When I go to any restaurant or meeting I have to specifically ask for help to identify what I can eat that doesn’t contain garlic.

But when I ask the wait staff for help with my garlic problem the most common response I hear back is…”No problem!” Well to me it’s a big problem, and not a response that makes me feel comfortable or trust them taking serious enough my questions about what I can or can’t eat at their buffet.

Recently I asked a sales person trying to sell me a new camera if they offer support in case I have a problem or failure with any of the equipment I’m thinking of buying and instead of telling me how great their service and support are, they tell me “No problem!”

How many times have you or your support team used this phrase with your most important customers? One of my friends who runs a farm shared how they recently had their tractor break down in the middle of planting and they needed urgent service from their local equipment dealer. The service tech quickly arrived and got my friend’s tractor back up and running much faster than my friend expected. Impressed with the service he was receiving he thanked the service tech for getting him back up and running so fast, and the service tech responded by saying “No problem!”

Well, to my friend, his tractor being down at such a prime usage time was a major problem and getting up and running so fast was a real added value of doing business with that equipment dealer. But even when my friend identified this added value and thanked the service tech the service tech’s response of “No problem!” only neutralized any of the value and good will that dealer was receiving from such a successful repair.

How often are you and your support team neutralizing any value differential or customer satisfaction with your responses?

Look how much damage responses like “No problem” generates within a buyer.

What did it cost that equipment dealer to get my friend’s tractor up and running faster than he expected? I bet it was because that dealer invested in a fleet of in-field service trucks and trained technicians. They also carried more spare parts inventory and did more training of their service team than their competitors. And I bet the reason they invested in all this extra service and support was so they could increase their competitive advantage within their markets allowing them to charge a higher price and still win the majority of the business.

But after this dealer made all of these investments to increase their value and uniqueness…it all got discarded by the service tech responding to a thank you for a great job with “No problem!”

And this is not just a local problem with us here in the United States, or even North America. I recently had the opportunity to visit Helsinki Finland, Paris France and London England, and heard the response several times of “No problem” in all three cities.

So…is this “No problem!” problem a problem with your sales and support teams?

Some suggestions…

The first idea or suggestion is to make your entire team aware of how damaging responding with “No problem!” is to your business, your brand, and your value and uniqueness in your markets. Every time someone now tells me “No problem!” I immediately respond with, “You mean there’s no value.”

The second suggestion is to get your management team to commit to stopping this negative selling language within your company. Just making your people aware of the damage this type of “No problem” response generates is not enough. Stopping this language within your company team will require you to break people’s habits, and that takes both time and the attention of all your managers to listen for and coach your people into giving more positive selling responses instead.

So what’s a good response to give a customer instead of saying “No problem?” Well, just about anything said will likely be more positive. But if a customer thanks you for your fast service times, like my farmer friend told his tractor service tech, the simplest response could have just been saying “Thank you!” A more persuasive and proactive response might be to say “Thanks for noticing how fast we work, we think it’s one of the reasons our customer’s keep using our service and buying from us.”

The reality of customers is they tend to evaluate all vendors based on the mistakes or weakest things we have (or haven’t) done for them lately, not based on the strongest or best things we’ve done. An important part of success in selling today is to minimize, repair or improve the weaknesses that exist within your company and customer support efforts so your true value and competitive strengths can be seen and understood.

The reality of driving any change within an organization is that it takes time, attention, and repetitive feedback and coaching in a positive environment to actually make long-term changes to the selling habits of your team.

The goal is to coach all members of your team; your managers, drivers, administrative people, ordering or parts counter staff, service techs and all sales people, to respond to any opportunity by saying something positive that’ll affirm and reinforce your uniqueness and brand. Remember that branding is predictability. The more consistent your responses to a customer then the more consistency and predictability they’ll hopefully see in your products or services and buying from you.

After all, we know you’re good…now the question is….are you and all the members of your sales and support teams good enough, and persuasive enough to not respond to a customer by saying “No problem!”? Instead use that opportunity to increase your value, your uniqueness, and your brand in the eyes of your customers and prospects.

Jim Pancero

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