Myra called in a panic. Could this sale be saved? A new customer was unhappy with his custom-made shirt, and returned it a third time for alternations. The custom-made trousers and jacket, which he ordered at the same time as the shirt, fit the burly individual precisely, and he kept them.

Myra had done everything possible to accommodate his schedule, coming to his office, taking measurements, submitting the order, delivering the items, and checking the fit. She repeatedly messaged him about the logistics and went out of her way to meet him on his terms. She was caring, considerate, professional, and polite.

When the third shirt arrived, she wrote him an email to arrange a drop-off. His response indicated that he was pulling back from the sale. His schedule was tight for the next two weeks, and, in his words, “I refuse to use any time on the weekend to buy a shirt. I’m leaning towards canceling it as this process has been far too cumbersome and inconvenient.”

Myra replied anxiously: “I really care about you and I’m focused on assisting you with clothes that fit comfortably. So far the trousers and jacket have both fit well. So if you will graciously let me know when it’s convenient, I will deliver it and confirm the fit.”

Have you guessed the contents of his next email? Unconditionally and unequivocally, he canceled the order.

So why did the customer stop the sale? In Myra’s opinion, when she told him about company’s money-back guarantee, which included paying for shipping, it initiated a desire to take advantage of the situation. She thought he was frustrated with his own position as a traveling salesman (as he longed to stay home) and was venting on her. At the same time she couldn’t understand why he wasn’t more sympathetic to her as a fellow sales professional.

While she can point to any number of external conditions, the answer lies in understanding the buying and selling styles of the two major players in this drama. As a Nurturer, Myra bent over backwards to serve her customer. Creating a genuine, caring relationship was paramount to her. To the customer, whose style was Action, he saw these qualities as weak, insecure, and vulnerable. He valued winning and being dominant.

So Myra lost the sale and is feeling beaten up and bullied. Going forward she has two choices. She can seek out prospects that respect and appreciate her desire to be in a caring relationship and reciprocate. This means that she narrows her customer pool. Or she can learn to read personality styles and respond in kind. This will enable her to serve more people, make more money, and “save” more sales.

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