I frequently talk with CEOs and Presidents who cannot understand why certain salespeople did not work out for their company. They found them to be very likeable in the interviewing process, and customers really liked them as well. These salespeople were friendly and outgoing and got along well with everyone in the office. So why was it that they could not meet their sales quota? Were they too likeable? You might be asking yourself, how can that be possible? One can never be TOO likeable. Except if one needs to be liked more than he needs to close business. Now we are uncovering something. The fact of the matter is that the need to be liked can sometimes overshadow a salesperson’s ability to close the sale. They are fearful of sounding too much like an aggressive salesperson to try and close the sale. They do not want to make the other party uncomfortable at all so they will not ask “Why.” They do not want to impose on the prospect to actually make a decision and get on with it, because that feels too “pushy.” The fact is they care too much about what others think.
Now it is very common to find salespeople who need to be liked and accepted. Salespeople commonly like people so they want to be liked. Unfortunately, when the need to be liked overtakes their need to close business, they are susceptible to something we call “Need for Approval.” While it is common among salespeople, it can be crippling and will likely go undetected in an interview. Additionally, the salesperson does not know his affliction and does not understand why he cannot make himself say the things that his manager wants him too in a selling situation. Undetected, the salesperson will flounder and potentially fail, or will just be 35% less effective closing business than he could be. Either way, being too likable is not a good thing in sales.
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