Balance in All Things

Some salespeople in our industry are very good at what they do, but they don’t get to do enough of it. They don’t get to sell as much as they could, because they’re afraid of coming across as pushy. And that fear can make them less confident, slow them down or even stop them dead in their tracks.

I think we can all agree that no one likes a pushy salesperson. But if you’re really good at what you do, shouldn’t you do everything possible to convince worthy prospects to do business with you?

You know there’s a big difference between being persistent and being pushy. Or between being helpful and being overbearing. Also between being confident and being cocky.

For the most part, people like those who are confident, helpful and persistent. But they don’t like those who are cocky, overbearing and pushy.

But if you look at it carefully, the negative traits we’re describing are essentially nothing more than extreme versions of the positive traits.

Those who are too persistent come across as pushy. Those who try to be too helpful can come across as smarmy or overbearing, and those who appear too confident are often described as cocky.

So Where Do You Draw the Line?

It’s interesting to me that some of the best salespeople fail to get orders because they retreat for fear of being seen as pushy.

So they back off. But instead of backing off just a bit, to a place of positive persistence, they back way off to a place of inconsistent follow up.

They don’t want to be seen as overbearing, so they back off. Not to a place of helpfulness, but to a place of not un-helpfulness, but non-helpfulness. They’re essentially missing in action. And it’s hard to be helpful if you’re not around.

They don’t want to be seen as cocky, so they back off on that, too. Not just to the point of confidence, which would be a great place to land, but to a place of timidity. Too afraid to have the conversations that need to be had in order to generate business.

The irony here is that as a result, some very pushy, overbearing and cocky salespeople often end up getting orders, because those who are actually confident, helpful and persistent are too afraid to let their light shine. So they slip into the background.

It’s almost like politeness carried to an extreme. Remember the two chipmunks from the old Warner Bros. cartoon. “After you,” “No, after you!” They’re so busy insisting the other one lead, that they don’t get anywhere.

In our industry, this means not being in contact as often as we should. Not being present with ideas and recommendations at the right time, or simply failing to ask the client to make a decision and get us the artwork in time to be able to place the order.

The late Zig Ziglar used to say, “Timid salespeople have skinny kids.”

Find your balance

  • Are you in front of your best prospects as often as you should be?
  • Do you find yourself not promoting yourself as aggressively as you could?
  • Are you losing business to salespeople who aren’t as professional, skilled or caring as you are?

If so, it’s time to step up!

  • Let the unskilled be timid, inconsistent and missing in action.
  • Let the belligerent be cocky, overbearing and pushy.
  • And be the person you were meant to be… a confident, helpful, persistent professional.

Are you finally ready to grow your business?

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    4 replies to "How to Be Confident in Sales"

    • Mike Devenport

      I don’t understand why in the H you don’t allow a print mode of your good message that I can share with my sales team in sales meetings. Yes, i can forward your email to them to read and I do that, but I want to be able to use it to initiate discussion about the topic. If I try to print it, I get a bunch of over-print in your new format that prevents me from being able to even read your message. Please fix it.

      • David Blaise

        NOTE: Before I respond, I don’t want anyone to give anyone the impression that I would normally answer a question that is worded like this. If I didn’t know Mike, I would have deleted his question and blocked his IP address from accessing my site. But since we have history, I’m going to assume was having an off day when he wrote this. If you are new to this site, please don’t think this is an effective way of communicating with me. It’s definitely not.

        Hey Mike, since the topic of this message is about how to be confident, helpful and persistent, I’ll try to be as diplomatic as possible in answering your question.

        The reason “why in the H” the blog isn’t immediately printable, is because it’s my blog site. It contains free content that I voluntarily make available in the form of an audio file and blog post to the people who come and visit my site. It is not shareware, or open source, or meeting notes or copy and paste content. It is also not an entitlement program. It is delivering the content exactly as it was designed to be delivered. Since the delivery mechanism is not broken, there is nothing to “fix.”

        That said, the last time you asked me about printing out a copy of my blog post, I responded by taking the time to provide you with a step-by-step procedure for doing just that. If you need to see it again, you can access it in the comments section of this post.

        I hope tomorrow is a better day for you.

    • Mike Devenport

      Excellent response David. I apologize for posting my comment in a state of frustration at not being able to print your good message for use as a discussion catalyst in a sales meeting. I don’t use blog sites and i didn’t think of your weekly messages as being blogs. At the end of this one, i saw the comment box, figured it would get to you and entered my message. When i hit “post comment,” I momentarily wondered if it went public. Too late; and it did.

      With you guidance, I figured out how to print what I needed. I had not seen your response from my only other post earlier in March. Thanks.

      So , I guess that makes this day a “better day.”

      Thanks for you fine work for our profession.

      • David Blaise

        Thanks Mike. If it hadn’t posted automatically, I would have just responded to you offline. Anyway, I’m glad you found it valuable enough to want to share. I appreciate your interest, your business, and your passion for making things better for your sales team. Happy to help!

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