Are We Falling for A Sales Schmoozer?

You have a salesperson everyone loves—clients, prospects, even your staff. Great, right? Yes, except for the fact that they can’t actually close business.

How can this be?

Often, someone ends up in sales because someone once told them they’re a people person. When this is the case, if the salesperson isn’t properly trained, he often will try to please his prospect with bonding, giving them the reins and allowing the prospect to be in charge of the relationship. This type of salesperson believes a person will buy from him if he can just get them to like him. 

A weakness in this area will show itself in an overabundance of unqualified meetings, with little business closing. 

When a salesperson has an overwhelming desire to be liked, it can control the way they do business. Some examples of what such a salesperson might not be able to do:

• Ask tough questions.

• Bring closure to a situation or identify a clear next step.

• Confront “wishy washy” statements.

• Deal directly with stalls and objections.

• Understand that they aren’t being rejected personally.

• Hang in there when the going gets tough.

Consider these questions to help uncover weaknesses:

• “How do you build relationships with your prospects?”

Listen for an attempt to read the prospect somehow. If they say something like, “I ask about their kids,” or a generic “This is what I always do” type of answer, they are attempting to bond rather than read the prospect.

• “How often will a prospect buy from you if they don’t seem to bond with you?”

You’re looking for something along the lines of “They don’t have to like me; it’s about value to them.”

• “What happens if you feel a prospect just doesn’t seem to like you?”

You want them to say something like, “Well, I hope they do, but as long as they respect me and see value, that’s all right.” 

Remember, sales really isn’t about everyone loving you. It’s about having good, hard, in-depth conversations with prospects to uncover the issues they have, and recommending true solutions. Period. ♦

Greta Schulz is president of Schulz Business, a sales consulting and training firm. She is the best-selling author of “To Sell is NOT to Sell” and works with Fortune 1000 companies and entrepreneurs. For more information or free sales tips, go to schulzbusiness.com and sign up for “GretaNomics,” a weekly video tip series, or email sales questions to [email protected]

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