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At the time I purchased my car I knew who I wanted to buy it from because I liked the salesperson.  He transformed what is usually a miserable experience for many into one that made me feel confident about the whole experience. In short, I felt like I was dealing with a good friend. I don’t know how he pulled that off because I generally don’t like to be chummy with sales people when I buy things. 

That experience has helped me when I coach salespeople prior to a sales call. If you’re going into a call and you know who you are meeting with and you have any negative perceptions about that person, it’s going to be difficult to create an environment where the prospect feels like I felt when I purchased my car.

I was pre-call planning with a salesperson recently.  He described the prospect he was going to meet as arrogant, rude and very cocky. I asked, “is there anything good to say about him?” “No” he said.  After challenging him on his response he did admit that he did like a few things.  He felt he always knew where he stood with the prospect. Also, the prospect was a very direct, goal oriented person that would take action if he believed in the product.  So right before the call, my client went through an exercise in which he wrote down everything he liked about the guy before going into the meeting. When we debriefed the call he admitted that it went much better than he expected.  That didn’t surprise me because I have to think that the prospect picked up on the fact that my client liked him.

I admit that just focusing on the positives of a prospect doesn’t make the sale close but it certainly creates an environment where they are willing to be more honest and share vital information that leads to a sale.  For some salespeople focusing on the positive may be a no brainer.  Maybe my car salesman fits that category or maybe he made a list of all the things he liked about me prior to our meeting. If he did….it worked.

- Jim Mattei

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