Are Setting Client’s Expectations Part of Your Sales Process? If Not, It Should Be!

Clients have expectations when they work with sales people. One is to help them solve a business problem with a good product and the other is to provide a high level of service so they want to work with your company in the future.  Service quality is largely determined by the client’s perception, which is why meeting client expectations is an essential part of the sales process. It can easily get overlooked, but setting expectations is the basis of what exceptional service is all about.  Isn’t that what you want when you buy something? Making sure there is good communication throughout the process and having someone communicate continually with you. When you can communicate what you do and set expectations for your clients continually, accurately, and easily, you will find your clients remarking about how your service exceeds their expectations. On the other hand, if you as a salesperson don’t set expectations, you could have disgruntled clients.  One bad customer service experience can erode even a faithful client’s confidence in a company. As in the story I will share with you: Our company recently decided to demo a new software product with a well known software company. The initial start up process went well. We liked the product and probably would have signed on day 25 if the sales person had called us to follow up. Why didn’t he call to see if we were happy with the product during our 30 day trial period? He never set our expectations of what would happen on day 30, the day our product demo expired. Day 30 happened to be on a Friday and he finally called to see if we were going to buy. We said yes, we were satisfied the product did what we wanted. I told him I would have my assistant call him to provide the credit card to get the process rolling. When she called he wasn’t at his desk so she left a message to call her back. They played phone tag all afternoon and never connected. I figured since we said yes we were going to buy we were good and set to move forward with the product. That night at 6:00 PM on Friday night, I went to access the software product and guess what – the jerk (actually he blamed it on the company) left us in the lurch and ended our service. I didn’t have access to the product anymore. It was Friday afternoon and he was gone for the weekend. I couldn’t do the work I had planned over the weekend. My husband was happy I wouldn’t be working, but I was so mad that this guy had dropped the ball, let my account lapse and not set the expectation that if we didn’t pay by Friday before he went home, they were going to turn the product off. What’s up with a sales person like this? If you are in sales or provide customer service, go the extra step it takes to make your clients happy. Set the alert in your calendar to contact clients a few days ahead of a deadline so they have time to make a decision and get the necessary paper work completed. Our sales guy could say it was our fault, that we should have called earlier and paid, but who would ever think a software company would actually shut you down when you said you were going to buy the product. Guess what I remember about this sales person and the company? It’s not the amazing service I received. This could have easily been a story about how a sales person went out of his way to help our company, so make sure you set client expectations ahead of time, so the ball doesn’t get dropped and your clients tell a story like this about you.


Keenan is A Sales Guy Inc’s CEO/President and Chief Antagonist. He’s been selling something to someone for his entire life. He’s been teaching and coaching almost as long. With over 20 years of sales experience, which he’ll tell you he doesn’t give a shit about, Keenan has been influencing, learning from and shaping the world of sales for a long time. Finder of the elephant in the room, Keenan calls it as he sees it and lets nothing or no one go unnoticed.