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Would You Please Like Me?

July 7th, 2016

 Most people like to be liked, and many salespeople love to be liked.  The weakest salespeople need to be liked.

While the end result of being liked certainly provides an advantage over being disliked, a salesperson’s desire to feel good and their need for approval can have huge consequences in their overall effectiveness and ultimate success.


Let’s take John for example;


John works really hard to get people to like him. 


John is very nice to everyone.


He almost always agrees with people, especially with sales prospects.


If John disagrees or if he hears contradictions in a buyer’s conversation, he won’t say a word for fear someone might not like him.


If a prospect wants John to do just about anything, he’ll do it.  


If a buyer wants a proposal, he’ll send one right away.


If a buyer wants John to go back and redo the proposal, he’ll happily oblige.


If the buyer wants John to sharpen his pencil to offer a better deal, John will take care of it.


If the buyer wants John to put on his tap shoes and dance on the table, John will do so with a smile.


In his zeal to be liked, John will rarely ask questions, especially the “difficult” or challenging variety.  


John is an expert on small talk, but avoids big talk.


John will never push for a ‘yes” or “no”.  He will accept “maybes” all day long.


If a prospect decides to take a phone call during John’s visit, John will sit by smiling as the minutes tick away.


If a buyer wants to spend a few hours talking with John about something that has nothing to do with business, John will cheerfully invest (aka: waste) the time.  (Note:  This type of wheel-spinning behavior is most prevalent among the most unqualified buyers—the ones with the least decision-making power or influence.)


Since John always defers to the buyer’s schedule, he frequently loses track of time and is often late for his next appointment.   


John happily accepts stalls, put-offs, and misdirections.


John rarely qualifies a prospect.   He’ll invest time, energy and money with anyone who asks for it.


John is more than happy to give as many unqualified demos and presentations as are requested.


John will never push to understand true buying motives or the decision process.


If the prospect doesn’t graciously offer to tell him directly, John will never learn anything about budgets or how much the buyer is willing to invest.


John takes objections personally and emotionally.


John is highly vulnerable to win/lose arrangements.


John will sacrifice his commissions (and company margins) in order to maintain his likability.


John will provide free consulting as long as a buyer requests it.


John IS a really nice guy and most buyers actually do like him.  Unfortunately, they don’t respect him or his time.   Consequently, John squanders massive amounts of time, company resources, sales volume and profit.  I’m not suggesting here that a salesperson shouldn’t be likable.   Of course you want your salespeople to be liked.  However, it is much more important that they are trusted and respected.  When the desire or need to be liked transcends effective sales behavior, it could cost you very dearly.   So be on the lookout for John.  Eliminating a salesperson’s need for approval can have a tremendous effect on your bottom line.


Do you know any Johns?

Do you have any on your sales team?

Do you ever find yourself behaving like John?

If so, what do you intend to do about it?

I’d love to hear from you.


Copyright ©   Joe Zente  2016.   All Rights Reserved.