Selling to DIVAS (aka: Know-it-Alls)


They’re out there. Everywhere you go you’ll run into someone who thinks they know more than you do on any number of subjects. It’s our society these days. Blame it on Reality TV if you like. The News certainly perpetuates this. Fact is, if you’re in sales, you must find a way to deal with these people. And do it quickly.

Now, a well-informed customer can sometimes be great. What you want. In many technology businesses & certainly the world of computers & high tech a real enthusiast doesn’t have to be convinced of the benefits of technology, or the value of all the bells & whistles that the latest laptop or tablet is equipped with. These folks are often open to more cutting-edge, high-performance solutions. But most of us are not selling that, are we?

For most of us, dealing with a know-it-all customer is tough. They want to show off how much they know about your products & services, but what they “really know” may not be much at all. A good salesperson knows how to sell to someone who wants to feel like an expert (even if they aren’t). This is called acting. And it can be fun, if you let it.

Reverse Psychology Works:

  • Defer to their expertise: Let them think they are the expert. But also remember to assert that you know what you are doing. This customer has shown they are proud of being more informed than most people – or at least feeling more informed. Start by acknowledging they’ve done their research (“stroke” them). But be genuine.
  • Explain your products & services in a way that makes them feel you’re giving them inside knowledge on technology trends & product lines. It’s OK to talk a little over their head here; it will make them feel they’re getting special knowledge while also reminding them that you do this for a living & know the market inside & out.

On the Business Side:

  • Let em talk. If you’re handling a know-it-all & you want to make a sale, let them talk as much as they want. If they say something that isn’t true (This widget has ABC specs), simply present the facts in as concise a way as possible. IE: “This widget has XYZ specs” Just the facts. Show them exactly what it says on “the box” for example. People who think they know everything usually refuse to believe you without any sources. So, cite some sources.

Getting Mad Never Works

  • Know-it-all customers can sometimes get your dander up. The trick is to be as calm as possible. Some know-it-alls will meet with you, ask a few questions, show off their “knowledge,” & not buy anything – ever. But others will go ahead & buy if you let them talk long enough. Just keep a level head throughout.

Dealing with know-it-alls is simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It isn’t. Smile, be friendly, courteous, & listen without interrupting. If you let them talk long enough, you may find they are interested in a solution & “have to buy”  from you to prove how well-educated they are.  

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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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