There is nothing worse than having someone try to sell you something. Let me be clear. I’m not talking about people who satisfy needs and offer solutions. That’s different than selling to me. There is something that happens to some sales people when they go into ‘sales mode.’ It’s similar to Superman changing in a phone booth or Wonder Woman twirling around to become a superhero, but in reverse. Before you know it, they’ve been engulfed by this slimy character with a fake persona and all they want to do is tell you why they are the best and why you should buy from them.
There is no interaction, no courtesy, and it certainly isn’t a dialogue. It’s a non-reciprocal diatribe. It’s uncomfortable and requires the utmost tact to maneuver your way out of it – followed promptly by a shower! Fortunately it’s happened so often to me that I’ve become quite adept at lunging to the left and then right with a fake-out to get out from underneath them.
So what happens to these people? One minute they are as nice as can be. Then you ask one simple question about their product or service and – boom! – the mask is on, their tone changes, they lean forward, and you are stuck. If people learned how to have conversations and identify needs, there really would be no need to sell, you would just simply communicate information as if you were giving directions.
Here’s something to try if you want to make sure you’re not scaring off potential sales customers. Pretend you are driving home and you are only a couple miles from your house. You’ve lived there for almost ten years and you know the area very well. A young mother and her son stop you to ask for directions to a grocery store. It’s simple: it’s up two blocks on the right. So you take a couple minutes to explain and point in the direction of the store. You tell the woman which street to turn on, how far to go, and any common landmarks. There is no need to sell. You don’t need to convince her to follow your advice, you are just giving information. Imagine your demeanor and your tone as you explain the directions. If you could have sales conversations without turning into a sales villain, remaining just as helpful and engaged as you did giving directions, you’d easily close more sales.