Face, it: Nobody likes a desperate person. Desperation smells a mile away & turns people off instantly. You remember that feeling back when you were dating (or if you are dating, now): He calls too much! She texts me every day. What is wrong with him? How bored is she? That’s your personal life. Sales is no different. You need to play it cool. Nobody wants to buy from or work with someone who is desperate – nobody!
Fact is, most of us know not to cross the line between eager & desperate in social situations. But, when your job is on the line, good judgment often goes right out the window. When you need to consistently sell each month to hit your number, the pressure can make you come off a bit too strong with your prospects.
In the pursuit of making quota, salespeople often don’t even realize that they’re looking desperate. If you’re guilty of any of these 4 Desperate Cues, stop immediately before you send your prospects running.
1- Being too nice & accommodating
This is more important than you think. Yes, you should serve your customers. Common sense says that. Common sense does not say that you should act like a servant, though. We speak a lot about the “pandering” salesperson. The salesperson that says “yes” too often, says “thank you” more in front of a prospect or customer than they do to their family.
You know pandering: pandering is when the server comes to your table five times before you are done with your appetizer to “see how everything’s tasting.” Sure, he wants a tip. He’ll get a tip, but if he comes back one more time . . .”
Too accommodating looks like, “I’ll see what I can do.” Or “Let me ask my boss.” The ultimate in too accommodating is discounting too quickly. You know the feeling. You always know when you lower the price before it’s necessary. You wimped out. Instead, will you dig into all of a prospect’s additional requests to understand why they need them, & if they are truly important.
You’re going to hate this: How about when you allow a prospect to disrespect your time? When a prospect cancels a call at the last minute, they’ll likely apologize the next time. Most salespeople respond with “No problem!” This is so wrong. The moment you do that you are putting your prospect on a pedestal. You are telling them that they are important & you are not! Try asking, “Is everything okay?” & then move on with the conversation. You should be respected as someone who adds value, & when you let a prospect treat you with disrespect, you show you’re desperate for the business. A great way to weaken your position!
2- Jumping on problems (PAIN) too quickly
On one hand, we’re happy that you ask your prospects the 9 Knock-Out Questions to get a feel for their PAIN points & understand if your product or service is the solution. It’s great when there’s a match between the PAIN & the fix. On the other hand, you CAN’T be too eager to make that connection. It’s too soon. You have to be suave & debonair. You must be cool about it.
Ideally (through your questions) the prospect realizes on their own that yours is the right solution. By asking questions & telling stories about other people like them, the prospect should see themselves in the stories. Prospect sells himself. That’s professional selling
Instead of letting the prospect connect the dots in their own mind, a lot of times salespeople say, “Oh, we can help you with that . . . ” & explain how they can solve the problem (DUMP). Problem is, that might not be the way they want to do it. Highlighting your product from the get-go is salesy, it’s “old-school” & can drive away a good opportunity. Looks desperate. Resist the urge.
3- Assuming the prospect is interested
This is a killer. How many times have you failed to ask a prospect if they are interested in your product/service (& assumed it)? They gave a few signals & your” happy ears” heard what they wanted to hear. This will make you look not only desperate, but foolish. You know what they say about the word “assume”. Can’t do it – ever. The most common way this comes out is when you suggest a ZOOM or Teams meeting or call in your first outreach. It’s premature & makes you look desperate. This early, you can’t really know whether the prospect is a good opportunity or not. Prospects will spot it a mile away.
4- Not taking the hint (stalker-like follow up)
One of our occupational hazards is that most of our sales opportunities don’t go anywhere. We fail more often than we succeed. Can you imagine if your accounting or production department said that – if they failed more often then they succeeded? Ah, no! It’s crazy. Sometimes prospects won’t even answer your email or return your call. They go completely off the grid. That’s OK. Get over it. What’s not OK is refusing to move on & sending email after email & leaving voicemail after voicemail (the dating example up top). Poster child for desperation
It’s going to take a discipline to look at yourself in the mirror & ask, “Am I making a fool of myself?” Or “Would I buy from me?” Stop for a second & reflect on the ‘dating game’ & you’ll know what to do. Of course, it’s a lot easier to not appear desperate if you have a full pipeline of opportunities. But that would mean you are prospecting . . . we’ll leave that for another Coach’s Chalk Talk.