When you think of the word “pander” what do you think of? Merriam-Webster’s dictionary says it’s to do or provide what someone wants or demands even though it is not proper, good, or reasonable.
I think of the overly-nice salesperson. That constantly up-beat guy, ridiculously positive & over-the-top with his willingness to accommodate. The gal that continuously says YES, smiles incessantly (uncomfortably so) & drips with benevolence.
Great qualities for a cruise director. Fine attributes for your 8 year old child’s summer camp counselor. But for a salesperson – not so much. Why do salespeople feel the need to go out of their way to be too nice & overly-accommodating to prospects & customers? It’s their nature. They think it’s helping their cause. NOT!
This does not suggest that salespeople should be mean, rude or obnoxious (as if I even have to mention that). In no way am I suggesting you be disrespectful (ever). It is only to suggest that when we go out of our way to accommodate, answer questions, help, be nice, etc. we give our prospects power (& make our job harder). We put our customers on a pedestal that they don’t really belong on (& it’s tough to get them off of it). In 2015 our prospects & customers have to see us on their level. They need to know that we can help them get where they want to go. This is next to impossible to do if we are in “awe” of them – if they are on that pedestal.
Do you find yourself saying YES a lot? Do you say GREAT or AWESOME a lot more than you do in “real life”? Do you respond with THANK YOU too often? Do you smile too much & get excited on sales appointments? Do you ever feel like you would melt in a rain storm in the parking lot after a sales call? All signs that you might be pandering to your prospects.
Sales is a tough gig. There’s no need to make it harder by giving your prospect all the power. The trick is to let them think they have all the power but you maintain subtle control – that’s the art of this profession. But don’t do it by pandering. Do it by asking good questions. Do it by being the expert that you are. Do it by professionally selling.
Professional salespeople ask tough questions in a nurturing manner. Rarely (if ever) do they have a smile on their face when they are asking a tough question. Your prospects problems are nothing to smile or laugh at. It’s a discipline (and, yes, sometimes it’s an act) to stay focused and listen. Be on their level. Be there with them.
Don’t pander. Leave that to Julie McCoy (name the TV show . . .).