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Are You Forcing a Round Peg in a Square Hole to Build Customer Loyalty

Leanne Hoagland-Smith

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Do you remember the old adage about focusing a round peg into a square hole? Have you ever thought that this might be part of the reason for your less than stellar business sales?

Recently, I spent 1.5 hours coaching a client who was terribly frustrated due to the lack of sales. Part of the problem is that she was trying to force a round peg into a square hole. She is not unique, because this is the sales behavior of most people especially when sales are nil to non-existent. I know this to be true because I used to do the same thing.

When you change how you look at things, the things you look at will change.

What I suggested was to clear the decks of her mind and forget about all her inventory where she currently had thousands of dollars sitting. This is not easy. (Remember, I said I used to do the same thing. ) This is good advice for new car salesmen, real estate agents, realtors and any sales professional.

Now with this blank slate, begin to truly listen to your prospects or customers. Determine what their needs really are. Take time to separate the symptoms from the real problems facing that person sitting across from you or on the other end of the telephone.

If you are a great salesman or saleswoman, you will know your products or services like the back of your hand. Begin to craft a solution to meet their needs. Let them know that you currently do not have exactly what you have heard, but that you have some other options that will meet these additional needs. Be flexible, be open, get out of the box. Of course if you have exactly what they want, that is terrific!

What you are really doing is trimming their square peg so that it will fit into your round hole. However, if it truly cannot fit, let the customer know. Tell him or her that what he or she wants is not possible with your products or services. And then point them to someone who can help them even if it is a competitor.

For example, a friend of mine referred someone to me as a business coach. After our discussion, I realized that even though I could help this person, she really wanted and more importantly expected a Life Coach. I do not nor will I ever brand myself as a Life Coach (much to touchy-feeley for me).

My business coaching and training practice is all about results that are quickly realized and very measurable. I passed her onto a Life Coach. For me, I would rather lose a customer than have an unsatisfied one.

If you want to increase sales , then some sound advise is to stop trying to force a square peg into a round hole. Kenny Rogers in the Gambler put it in this pithy way: Know when to fold them.

Are you building loyal customers who can quickly increase your profits? Visit and download the Customer Loyalty Audit.

Do you want to grow your business? If so, do you have a strategic plan, but do not have 20-40 hours to invest in creating one? These one page strategic action plans may help you.


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