Are You Nice?

Many reps confuse social behaviors with sales behaviors. Prospects are not your friends. They are busy people that you probably interrupted by your call. They would appreciate your being businesslike – stating why you are calling, saying what you have to say, and then letting them get back to work.

Babbling senseless inanities like “the Red Sox are in trouble this year” or “I hear it’s hot in Phoenix in August” is not only a waste of time, it’s idiotic. I for one hate sports and can care less what the weather is like since I can’t do anything about it if I did find it unpleasant.

But wait, some might argue . . . I’m just trying to be “nice.” I say be “nice” on your own time. Before and after work. During work hours and especially when interrupting busy people, “nice” means something different. Not warm and fuzzy but fast and relevant.

Why do some people feel compelled to be nice? Perhaps it’s because they are “people” people and love to socialize. Perhaps they hate people and want to put up a front. Perhaps their idiot sales manager told them that getting people to like them is critical to success. I know many reps that are hugely successful and nobody ever accused them of being nice (many other things perhaps). They did however understand sales.

This fuzzy headed thinking carries over into all aspects of the sales process. Let’s look at opening statements when you are trying to get through to a decision maker and sell a presentation:

NICE: Hi, my name is Friendly Bob. Can I please talk to David Smith, unless he’s too busy, I wouldn’t want to interrupt him, and by the way I hear it’s cold in Alaska in the winter, is that true?, do you get a lot of polar bears?…

Prospect: We are pretty busy today, perhaps you can call back on September 15th 2056, that’s the day after I turn 65 and will retire. I am sure I’ll have time to chat for hours with you then.

NOT NICE: David Smith please.

Prospect: I’ll put you through.

Sales = Call Volume X Close Ratio.

Who will make more calls a day – the “nice” or “not nice” rep?

Here is a sample dialogue at the close:

NICE: Well, I hope I explained everything. Do you have any questions? Would you like to think about it for a while, no rush you know . . .

NOT NICE: I take Visa, what’s the number?

Who do you think will ask for the order like she deserves it and keep asking until she gets it?

Social norms that work in casual interactions do not work in sales. A more extreme example is when you try to fight fair and be nice in combat and seconds later what pieces of you can be found are shoveled into a body bag.

If you find yourself compulsively being nice all the time, for no particular reason, then here is a cure. Get a puppy. A cute, furry, warm, happy, puppy that will lick your face, wag its little tail, and fall all over itself being nice to you. Roll around on the floor for an hour each morning with the little puppy. Get it out of your system.