We’ve all had sales experiences that left a bad taste in our mouths. (Just say no to bad sales tactics.)  Most of us have dealt with salespeople that didn’t deliver the goods. And more than once we’ve been disappointed when working with salespeople or a sales team that didn’t meet our expectations.

Unless we cut salespeople out of our lives the odds are we will all be faced once again with sales teams whose results are less than desired. So, what’s the answer, buy everything online? I don’t know if that’s possible and besides one can still be disappointed with an online purchase. There might not be an absolute answer. However, there is something we all can do, and that’s to try to avoid the bitter pill of a disappointing sales representative by being the best most proactive customer possible. Here’s how:

9 Steps to Proactively Working with Salespeople

Know What You Want

Know what you want not what you think you want, but what you need, and then share your expectations of the product or service. If you don’t give the salesperson your expectations what can you expect?

Share Your Budget

If you’re worried that sharing your budget will jack up the price, you can do one of two things, offer a range, or find another provider because if the level of trust is that low then other problems will emerge. By sharing your budget, you can help the sales team serve your needs.

Explain What You Don’t Want

If there’s a product or option you don’t want, then don’t waste your salespersons time. Let them know up front what doesn’t fit your needs.

Provide Information

Give the sales team every bit of information they need. Don’t guess at it when the salesperson asks for information, don’t wait a month to provide the info, and don’t change the information several times during the sales process.

Unify Your Team

Never tell a sales team to begin the process without consulting everyone who could affect the decision. From the sales perspective nothing is more discouraging than beginning work on a project, and then scrapping it because the customer changed their mind.

Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute

Give the salesperson time to deliver the product you want. Rush jobs are a sure way to lead to mistakes and disappointments.

Pay Your Bill

What’s paying your bill have to do with working with a salesperson? Try not paying your bills promptly and see how responsive the sales team is to your next request.

Make Up Your Mind

If you’re the sole decision maker, don’t begin the order process until you’re certain as to what you want. Change orders can be expensive and lead to problems.

Know What You’re Talking About

If you don’t understand what you’re hearing don’t nod your head in agreement, ask questions or bring a member of your team into the discussion who does understand.

And Sometimes it Won’t Matter

Yes, occasionally when working with salespeople, you can do everything right, you can dot all of your I’s and cross all of your T’s and the outcome may still be less than desired. However, you can avoid a lot of expense and disappointment by being a proactive customer. The best customer can make a mediocre salesperson look good, and isn’t that the outcome we all desire?