are you missing sales

Are You Missing Sales Because Customers Pigeonhole You?

The Situation

Stephanie is sales rep for a janitorial service that cleans office buildings. She checks with her clients regularly to be sure they are pleased with her service.

As she drives up to a steady customer’s building, she notices several trucks for a company specializing in mold removal. Stephanie’s company is active in that area and subcontracts mold remediation services.

Here is part of her conversation with her customer, Chris:

are you missing sales

Missed Opportunity

Stephanie could kick herself for being complacent about this customer. She was focused on client maintenance. However, how could she have used best practices for Q4 selling that would have resulted in Chris contacting her when this emergency arose?

Make Yourself the Solution

Too many salespeople think of themselves as representing merely the sum total of all the products or services they sell. That may also be how their customers view them, which pigeonholes them. It keeps them from expanding their value and, thus, future sales.


Q4 selling is needs-based selling. In it, the salesperson strives to become the solution to customers’ needs. In this case, if Chris had thought of Stephanie as a problem-solver, someone to turn to for help, he most likely would have contacted her about the mold problem first. “Stephanie’s my go-to person.”


Use Probing to Know What They Really Want

How can you make yourself that go-to person? By practicing collaborative selling, you make yourself a key differentiator. The tool to use is the probe. Often, salespeople have too narrow an agenda for a sales call. They want to control the meeting so they can present products or services in the best light. However, by taking time to ask questions and assess customer needs, you make the customer the center of your selling efforts. They’ll start to see you as someone who looks out for them.


Probing and listening do much more than uncover specific tangible needs, such as a mold problem. They help you identify personal needs as well. Chris is in charge of his company’s building. He may feel a strong need to feel that, in the eyes of his boss, he has everything running smoothly. Or he may feel a strong personal responsibility to the people who work there.


The Best Way to Ensure Future Sales With a Current Customer

If Stephanie probes Chris’ needs, she can establish a sales relationship that grows beyond getting bathrooms clean and wastebaskets emptied. That can garner additional business when an emergency occurs, with the added bonus of strengthening her position when it’s time for contract renewals.


Use your Q4 interest in customer needs to become the person your customers rely on.