There is such a thing as a bad sale

Collaborative Creations Co-Founder and Director Sam Vincent on why building trust should come before making a quick buck.

There is such a thing as a bad sale. A bad sale is one that hasn’t been thought through: a sale that is focused on making a quick buck. Often that comes at the expense of a long-term relationship, and the ongoing impact on your brand.

Take the sale of a computer. I’m approached by a seemingly great salesperson who wants to sell me a computer (for this example, let’s say I know nothing about computers). They explain the power the computer has, the speed it can run at and the ultra-modern tech it uses. I like their spiel and enthusiasm, so I decide to buy it.

Once I’ve bought it, however, I realise that it doesn’t run the software I need. This amazing and expensive computer is in fact useless to me. I now have negative feelings towards the manufacturer, and I have no trust in the salesperson. I also tell everyone I know that “it’s rubbish” and to avoid buying from them, which these days means plastering it all over social media.

If the salesperson had taken time to listen to my needs, they could have realised and then accepted that their product wasn’t suited to me. They could have pointed me to an alternative, even if they didn't sell it. They may not have made the sale, but I would remember them for taking the time to understand me and I would respect them for their honesty. And here’s the charm: I would also recommend them to others even though I hadn’t actually bought anything from them, because I trusted that they would be honest with my friends too.

The same principle can be applied to any business. Building trust should come first, and if it leads to a sale right away, brilliant. If it doesn’t, but you’ve provided reliable and honest advice, your client will remember you. Next time they need something, they’re more likely to come your way - and every future time after that.

Not making a sale in the short term may be looked at as a bad thing by those only concerned with short term gain, but we have to consider the long-term effects. Needs and people evolve, so what was wrong today may be right tomorrow. The technical entertainment industry is a comparatively small one, where word spreads quickly. Reputation is important, and long-term business relationships are necessary.

And of course, it’s not just about getting the long-term sale. It is also nice to be nice, to do business in an ethical and moral way. At Collaborative Creations, we think it’s important to have fun with the people who we do business with, and they usually end up as good friends because we enjoy what we do and who we work with.