Sales success depends on getting customers to buy and often getting those you work with to support you in your sales process. You need operations, accounting and so many other departments to serve your customers effectively. You might not realize that some people are really obstacles to your success. Here are a few types to be wary of.
“I’m right because I am.”
1. Beware of people who forcefully state what they believe to be fact. People have forever believed themselves to be right and other people to be wrong. Just don’t be deceived by someone who passionately believes in their ideas when you know them to be wrong.
Who tends to do this? Assertive, forceful people. You know who the assertive people are at work. They tend to talk louder and faster. They stand close to others and need less distance between you and them. Know that not all assertive people express everything they believe emphatically. Those that do want to avoid others challenging them.
What can you do when you hear something you believe might not be true? Ask the speaker for their source. Some will tell you that they read it somewhere. You could ask where they think they might have seen the “fact.”
Sometimes you have to be careful when you know the believed facts are wrong. One of my customers had some very strong ideas on the performance of one of my products. Where did he get the information? From my competitor. The information was incorrect. His claim that his company developed the technology was incorrect because it was my company that did the development and licensed the technology to his company.
I had to very carefully explain where I got my information to try to convince him that the competitor had given him false information. I was the messenger of the bad news. This customer was not happy that he had believed something that was wrong. His reaction was to yell at me! I was not happy with his unfair reaction, but I knew this kind of insecure guy would react that way. I simply had to listen calmly to his bad temper.
“I” versus “We” people.
Both customers and coworkers can be “I” people. “I” people attribute their success to themselves. They believe they have accomplished all that they have done alone and without the help of anyone. They tend not to thank other people. They never acknowledge the role that others play in contributing to their success. You can quickly spot them. Just listen for the number of “Is” they have in their conversation. There will be plenty.
You have to sell differently to an “I” person than a “We” person. The danger of an “I” prospect is that all he is interested in is his success. Your product or service might benefit his company. He doesn’t care unless the benefit helps him, too. You have to be sure that when you sell that you demonstrate the value of your products and services to him and what he wants. That means that you have to learn what motivates him personally. Unless you ask you can only assume and assuming is not going to be as successful.
Be extra careful if you work with “I” people. I once participated in a meeting where groups were presenting to senior management. One group leader presented the team’s work as if it were his alone. It not only looked odd compared to the other group presentations, it was not typical of that company’s culture to present that way. The outcome was that senior management got a very poor impression of this employee and he never advanced to a more powerful position within the company.
Selling is hard enough without people adding more obstacles to your success. You can avoid the obstacles they present as long as you are prepared with a strategy to work with these difficult people.