Why Do Salespeople Change Who They Are When They Sell?

I don’t think it’s too far off base to say that most of the people who sell to us on a daily basis are horrible sales people. And let me tell you just some of the reasons why.

  • They pressure us to make decisions.
  • They talk to us like we’re dumb.
  • They ask us for business. Sometimes, they even beg.
  • They bug us even when they know that we don’t want what they are selling.
  • They hammer us with questions that we don’t want to answer.
  • They get excited when we say, “Send me some information,” or “This has been interesting, we will get back with you,” when really, we’re kindly trying to say, “We’re not interested.”
  • They talk and talk and never let us get a word in.
  • The look for issues, and then quickly show us how their “stuff” will solve all our problems.

Who are these people who act this way? They are your family members, your friends, your golf buddies, and your neighbors. But they don’t seem that way when you’re talking to them as you’re waiting to tee off or as you’re backing out of the driveway!

Imagine a world where:

  • Your neighbors ask you to come over for dinner, and when you respectfully decline, they come back with something like, “But we will throw some filet mignon on the grill!”
  • At Thanksgiving dinner, your mother tells you that she is not going to let you leave the table until you make a decision about Christmas dinner, and if that decision isn’t a yes, she will deal with your objections.
  • Your best friend comes over for some beers and starts the conversation with, “So what issues are you having. I’ve got something that can make them go away.”

Nobody is really like this in real life. Okay, there are some rare instances, but with most people, something changes when they are in selling situations. They either act like what they think a salesperson should be. Or, they try too hard to be “the anti-salesperson,” and end up acting like a bad salesperson anyway—the exact thing that they were trying to avoid!

The answer, of course, is to stop acting. Be yourself. Be honest, transparent, kind, funny, awkward at times, confident at times. Be curious. But this is so hard for most salespeople to adjust to.

This is where sales training should be focused. As much as training is about learning the skills of selling, it should also help a person learn to be themselves, while at the same time, be in control, effective, and perceived by a prospect as an equal, not an enemy.

Maybe these salespeople don’t really need to be “better at selling.” They likely already have a lot of the skills and traits necessary to be good at selling. Maybe they just need to learn to be themselves.

Brian Kavicky

Connect with Brian Kavicky

For 25 years, Lushin has guided business leaders toward intentional, predictable growth.

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