If you would like to make sure you’re not that guy, or ensure you never become him – join one of our upcoming Fall events – listed below.
Coaching hundreds of individuals and hosting dozens of workshops each month – we hear it all the time. Nobody wants to be “that sales guy.” We hear it from attorneys, CPAs, high-net-worth financial advisors, business consultants, and all walks of leadership and sales.
So who is this guy that has built himself such a notorious reputation that no matter what city we are in, he is known far and wide? In its most exaggerated form, he’s the guy who walks across the room to make an introduction – cloaking himself with an air of confidence, ready to lead with the multiple layers of names, associations, and clubs that he knows, belongs to, or frequents. Yet he doesn’t back it up with anything more than golf invites, exaggerated experiences, premature promises of expertise, and fancy steak dinners. To him, sales is about pretending to be some big shot character out of a movie, where self-serving boldness is rewarded on the big screen. “That guy” is all talk and bold promises, but he’s seldom effective in making real life, genuine impressions that create sustainable relationships.
The common denominator of “that guy” or, better said, “that person,” is pretty simple. Their thoughts and actions serve them, and not the person they’re trying to engage. They look to exploit who they know vs. how they can help. Anytime you approach someone with the intention “How do I get them to see how good we are?” or “How do I get them to do business with me?” – you are “that person.”
However, there’s a really important gray area here. Proclaiming that you don’t want to be “that person” and therefore you don’t practice boldness in your outreach, you can also be in a hiding spot that you’ve created to avoid doing some of the hard work needed to build your brand, network, and business. It can be an excuse not to assert in certain situations and opportunities that may be required.
The fact is, you can be bold and still be genuine. You can be assertive and still not be aggressive. You can initiate business conversations with those within your social and professional networks without being “that person.”
The thing that makes someone – “that person” is that all of his or her compounding actions have a self-serving motivation behind them. They pursue introductions to land an appointment in which they can exploit the prospect’s pain and position their expertise to try and persuade the prospect into making a change decision that they might not be ready to make. At the end of all of this is the anticipation of some financial reward, professional validation, and or competitive satisfaction.
There’s nothing wrong with competing, receiving a financial reward, or experiencing validation for your many years of expertise and knowledge, but these shouldn’t come at the expense or exploitation of others. This is where the disconnect occurs.
Here are three common examples showing how you’ll know if you’re “that person”
- You struggle for hours to craft your outreach emails, looking for the perfect way to communicate your value so that the prospect feels compelled to respond. These emails are usually full of “I”, “our”, “We are…”, “I’d love to…”, “I was hoping…” All of these phrases and words tell the prospect that your outreach effort serves you – not them. If they accept your invite, you will be making the conversation all about you and how they should be doing business with you.
- When you generate or earn a seat at the table with the prospect – you end up doing 75% of the talking, and you gauge the value of the conversation by how and if it meets your needs. This is interesting – most tenured professionals with years of expertise do this because they prioritize their time to shine by proving and promising vs. slowing down and taking the time to help their prospect or center of influence think, debate, and evaluate. It seems that the more experience and knowledge gained, the more apt they are to make assumptions, and less inclined to ask questions and listen. How can you have a conversation that helps your prospect if you judge it based on how it may advance your sale?
- The end of your conversations are a struggle. They end with “you’ve given us a lot to think about”, “call us in a few weeks”, “give us some time to talk internally and we’ll get back with you.” In any case, you leave with your fingers crossed. There are many reasons that this happens. Most commonly, you didn’t ask enough questions, and the ones you did ask were strictly focused on finding and exploiting the prospect’s pain. In addition to spending too much time talking about what you do, you listened for what you wanted to hear, and only asked questions that served where you wanted the conversation to go. You’re “that person.”
Being “that person” is like having a 100-pound weight strapped to your back at all times. You can feel it, others sense it, but no one can see it. You’re wearing the emperor’s new clothes.
Join us for one of our upcoming events to learn how you can identify and shed the weight “that person” carries. Selling won’t ever be the same.