By Paul McCord, www.eyeonsales.com
Whether we like it or not, whether we want it to happen or not, whether we believe it or not, our attitude toward our job, our attitude toward our product or service, and especially our attitude toward our prospects and clients is telegraphed to our prospects and clients through our voice, our body language, and the words we choose.
And, again, whether we like it or not, our attitude has a direct and often disproportionate bearing on whether or not we close the sale.
Over the years I’ve had the privilege of working with thousands of sellers. I’ve seen all kinds of attitudes. I’ve run across sellers who were genuinely honored to work with their prospects and clients, others who were true believers in their product or service, others who had a servant’s heart and were anxious to be of service to their prospects, and others who were excited to be a part of their company’s success.
The prospects of these sellers pick up quickly on the seller’s enthusiasm and confidence. The seller’s prospects and clients are to some extent influenced by the seller’s attitude and are more likely to have a positive view of not only the seller but also their products and services.
On the other hand, I’ve met sellers who were only going through the motions, who looked upon their prospects and clients as nothing more than a checkbook, who hated their product, service or company, or who simply hated the very act of selling. Almost all of these men and women knew their attitude was damaging their careers and sales efforts. Most were too lazy or fearful to address the issues or to find more appropriate employment.
Just as positive begets positive, negative begets negative.
But I’ve found two attitudes to be particularly destructive simply because most of the individuals who exhibit these attitudes don’t seem to understand how damaging their attitude is. In fact, those who have one of these attitudes are convinced that their attitude is a major asset when dealing with prospects and clients.
These two attitudes are on opposite ends of the spectrum, but both are far too prevalent and both are extremely difficult to eradicate:
Fear: Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of getting fired, fear of not being able to pay the rent, fear of going back to the office empty handed are all common fears with sellers and they all send out an unmistakable beacon to the men and women these sellers try to connect with. And that fear kills sales.
The problem with fear is that although the prospect or client picks up on the fear, they have no idea the source of the fear and can easily mistake it for something more ominous such as an attempt to lie or cheat or even an attempt to scam the buyer.
Fear is sensed almost immediately and sends up red flags in the prospect that tells them to proceed slowly and with great caution. Further, the seller’s fear simply reinforces the natural fear that many buyers experience when making a purchase, making it even that much more difficult for the buyer to pull the trigger and make a positive purchasing decision.
The only cure for fear is developing confidence. Confidence comes through developing the skills and experience to be successful. Fear is often attached to a lack of preparation, training, and coaching.
Fortunately, fear can be overcome, but too often it is simply allowed to fester to the point the seller either moves to another career choice or the company lets them go.
If you or one of your sellers suffers from fear, address it immediately and get them on a training and coaching path to replace their fear with a solid self-confidence.
Arrogance: Just as deadly in sales but more difficult to address is the attitude of arrogance and disrespect for the buyer.
Arrogance comes across in many ways. I’ve heard comments from sellers such as: “He wouldn’t take my cold call and I’m a customer of his company. I told his secretary that he owed it to me to talk me and any other seller who called,” “I finally got an appointment with the jerk. I’m going to be a few minutes late just to let him know I’m not so impressed that I’m going to fall all over myself just because he said yes to seeing me,” “He thinks he knows more than I do. He’ll pay when it comes time to sign a contract,” and hundreds of other comments that indicate the seller thinks the buyer either owes him something or that he has little respect for the buyer.
The biggest problem with arrogance is most sellers with an arrogant attitude believe that their attitude is an asset, one that exudes confidence and power. In reality arrogance is usually covering up some other issue whether a lack of confidence, a fear, or a personality or character defect.
I’ve seen this attitude in a great many men and women who were at one time top sellers and who are now struggling. It seems their way of coping with their lack of success is to become boastful and arrogant.
I’ve also encountered this attitude with relatively new sellers who very quickly were very successful and bought into the idea that they were in some way special. Their quick success just as quickly went to their hear–and often their success quickly turns into struggles as they fall back to earth.
Whatever the root cause, prospects and clients pick up on the attitude quickly and when they do, their natural defense mechanisms come up, making it almost impossible for the seller to close the sale.
Dealing with a seller suffering from arrogance is very difficult simply because it is so difficult to get them to understand they are their problem. Most arrogant sellers have bought into the BS they spout. They have become believers in their own trash talk. Not that they actually believe they can outsell and outperform, but rather that they are better than those they try to sell to and they deserve the respect they try to demand from others. Ultimately they believe the prospect owes them something.
Are they a lost cause? Frankly, most are. However, I’ve seen a few that with heavy coaching and a period of close management have seen the error of their ways and repented from their sin. Unfortunately, they are the rare exception, not the rule.
If you have either of these attitudes in your sales team (and I’m willing to bet most sales leaders have at least one seller with one of these attitudes) you must deal with them immediately and directly for more than likely they won’t deal with their attitude issue on their own. Those who are fearful won’t know how to deal with it and those who suffer from arrogance won’t have the slightest idea their attitude is a liability.
If you notice that you suffer from one of these attitude issues, get help immediately. If you are fearful, get the training and coaching that will give you the basis for developing the confidence to overcome your fear. If you are arrogant, get with your sales leader and develop a plan that will help your eradicate your malignant attitude before it destroys you and your career.
About Paul McCord: Author, speaker, trainer, consultant, and one of the country’s leading authorities on prospecting, referral generation, and personal marketing, Paul McCord has had a distinguished career in teaching, sales, sales training, and sales management. A magna cum laude graduate of Texas A&M University,… more