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The "Thanks for Your Time" Crime

Apr 1, 2008
It happened again, but I'm not surprised. As the insurance salesman was wrapping up our meeting, he shook my hand and said, "Thanks for your time." I thought to myself, "What a crime."

He was being polite, and I welcome that. He genuinely appreciated the time I devoted to our interaction. His thank-you was acknowledging the value of the time I had "spent" with him because we all know "time is money." Unfortunately he -- like many of us -- failed to notice the hidden meaning in that seemingly harmless phrase that subtly sabotages our sales.

Killer Questions

"Your time is valuable. Mine isn't." That's what you tell me when you say, "Thanks for your time." Apparently you have nothing better to do with YOUR time than talk with me.

--- Could it be you're not very good at your job, and people are rarely willing to talk with you?

--- Might I wonder if you're desperate for a sale?

--- Are you less than busy because you or your offerings are inferior such that I'd be better off dealing with your competition?

All the energy and preparation you've expended to establish credibility with me, engender confidence, and establish the value of what you offer is subtly and suddenly diminished when you thank me for my time. After all, if you truly believe the services you offer are valuable, why would you say anything to imply your inferiority?

Decisions Rewarded

We can still be polite without compromising our position. Instead of thanking prospects for their time, we could thank them for something that will lead us closer to the sale. For instance, we could say:

--- "Thanks for opting to meet with me."

--- "Thanks for deciding to take a closer look at this opportunity."

--- "Thank you for choosing to come to my office."

Ultimately we're going to ask the prospect to make a buying decision. By thanking them for making a choice, you're giving them verbal applause for their wise decision to meet with you. Plus, you are reinforcing the value of additional decisions you may suggest in the future. Thanking your prospects for making a choice improves your position with them instead of hindering it.

Serve Without Subservience

Always remember that what you offer is valuable, as is the time you commit to delivering the details that describe it. In the land where "all men are created equal," don't commit the crime of forgetting that and reducing yourself to a subservient position by thanking others for their time. Compliment their decisions instead. You'll maintain peer status with your buyer, elevate yourself to advisor status faster, and accelerate your sales success.
About the Author
Paul Johnson is Founder of ConsultativeSelling.com and a keynote speaker. He works with organizations like ADP, Nortel Networks and AutoNation to convert sales trouble into double and triple digit performance breakthroughs. Learn how to apply Consultative Selling at http://ConsultativeSelling.com/.
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