I Just Want My Customers & Prospects to Like Me

Are you a “people-person”? Do you like people? Do you love ‘em? Lots of salespeople say they do. Watch them in action & it’s painfully obvious that they do.

Painfully? What’s so painful about a salesperson liking her prospect? What’s so wrong with really loving your customers? Well, let’s dig into that one for a bit.

Most people (in general) have a need to be liked. A need to be valued, to do well & be “approved of”. This is human nature (believe me, I did not invent this – it’s a fact). People will do what it takes to get that approval.  They will be nice. They will give compliments. They will help. They will try to make a “friend”. It’s natural.

As a person, these are fine qualities. Given the choice I sure would want to spend time with people like this.

As a person. Key word: person. In the world of sales when a salesperson has these needs the needs take over. The need to be liked & the need to be approved of has a tendency to get fulfilled – sometimes at the risk of making a sale.

If this sounds like it lacks conventional wisdom it’s because it does. In the 70’s & 80’s we had the stereotypical salesperson – “Good Time Charlie”. Charlie was a great guy. He liked everybody. Everybody loved him. He got orders. He did really well in sales. By 1984 standards he crushed it. But (to reference the S.E. Hinton novel from 1971) That Was Then, This is Now. Selling in 2014 is different than it was in 1984.

Way different. The information available to prospects & customers is more plentiful than ever before. They know what they want before you even arrive. Competition is tougher than it ever was. Technology is off the charts. These things (& more) require professional salespeople to adapt. Result: Good Time Charlie’s are a thing of the past. One word: Dinosaur.

What won’t a “Good Time Charlie” do because he’s too busy making friends in sales?:

  • He won’t ask tough questions
  • He won’t get in front of decision-makers
  • He won’t get full price (“Let me do you a favor & get you a discount”)
  • He will trust prospects & customers (“She wants to think it over but she’ll eventually buy…”)
  • He will educate his prospect to death (proving to himself how much he knows)
  • He will chase prospects for a decision & not accept the word NO)

This is in no way a suggestion that salespeople become big jerks in sales. Not at all. We only suggest that if your goal in sales is to make a friend you will accomplish that goal.

You’ll have a lot of friends. You’ll also have skinny kids. You pick.


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Dave Tear

Dave is passionate about selling & helping others understand the sales process. Whether a client company has a 5 person sales team or a 300 person National sales force, Dave can Coach & Train them to be the best in their industry.
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