Are You an Unintentional Sales Wuss?

I’m sure your answer is a resounding “no.” But in reality, it’s not what you think that counts. Only your prospect’s perceptions matter—and they can be very different from what you’d imagine.

Why? Because they’re extremely busy. Every time they talk with you, read your emails or meet with you, they’re asking, questions like:

  • “Is this person a credible resource?
  • “Does he/she bring a depth of expertise?
  • “Is this worth my time to continue the conversation?”

So let’s take a look at one scenario to see how your best intentions might be totally misinterpreted.

You’ve finally lined up a meeting with an important prospect. As you’re ushered into their office, you extend your hand and say, “Thanks so much for meeting with me today, Terry. I really appreciate your time.”

You think you’re being courteous. After all, this person is busy and it’s taken a long time to get on their calendar.

They think you’re a wuss. Important people never position themselves as a supplicant, grateful for the opportunity to meet with Mr/Ms. Big. Instead of sounding like the pro you are, you sound like a hopeful wannabe.

Nice people are the worst offenders. They don’t realize that their graciousness and gratitude come across as neediness. Or hopefulness. And ultimately, as being wussy.

What’s a better way to kick off the meeting? Extend your hand and say something like this: “Good to meet with you, Terry. As I said when we set this up, I’ve got some ideas that can help you out with [fill in the business reason].

Notice how that positions you as a peer who’s worth meeting? It’s a totally different framework to begin your conversation. Also, please note that it’s not about your product or service. That makes you seem like a self-serving salesperson. Again, that’s bad.

You have to think to be good at sales—and not just from your own perspective. Review everything through your prospect’s eyes and ask: Do I sound like a valuable resource and a business peer? Or, do I sound like a wuss?

Your Turn: What other ways do salespeople sound like a wuss? And, how can they change things?



Jill KonrathJill Konrath is the author of three bestselling books, AGILE SELLINGSNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies. She’s a frequent speaker at sales meetings and conferences. For more fresh sales strategies, download her free Prospecting Toolkit.

Jill Konrath

Jill Konrath is also a frequent speaker at sales conferences and kick-off meetings. Sharing her fresh sales strategies, she helps salespeople to speed up new customer acquisition and win bigger contracts. Her clients include IBM, GE, Microsoft, Wells Fargo, Staples and numerous mid-market firms. Author Jill is the author of three bestselling, award-winning books. Her newest book, Agile Selling shows salespeople how to succeed in a constantly changing sales world. SNAP Selling focuses on what it takes to win sales with today’s crazy-busy buyers. And Selling to Big Companies provides step-by-step guidance on setting up meetings with corporate decision makers. Thought Leader As a business-to-business sales expert, Jill’s ideas and insights are ubiquitous in multiple forums, both on and offline. ◾Widely read. Jill’s newsletters are read by 125,000+ sellers worldwide. Her popular blog has been syndicated on numerous business and sales websites. ◾Sales Fellow. In 2014, Jill was honored to be selected as a Sales in Residence at HubSpot Sidekick, providing insights, guidance and direction to the new Sidekick offering. ◾Accomplished. Jill has been recognized for many achievements. Most recently, InsideView named her to their list of the 25 Influential Leaders in Sales for the third consecutive year in 2013, and she was named to the Sales Lead Management Association's lists of the 50 Most Influential People in Sales Lead Management in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. She has also won many other awards. To learn more about Jill, you can read about her professional background, personal insights and sales philosophy. Check her out on Wikipedia, and don't forget to connect with her on LinkedIn!

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