Say what you will about Freud, but he understood the power of the human ego. Can you claim the same? And do you know how to be confident without being arrogant? A new study by DiscoverOrg finds that buyers are onto salespeople with big egos. If your buyers perceive you as arrogant and self-interested, your sales could be at risk. Here’s how to shift the focus away from yourself.
How to be Confident Without Being Arrogant
In sales situations, you must remember that the encounter is NEVER about you. Your goal is to convince the prospect to like what you’re selling, to see the personal value in your solution and to make a purchase. In many cases, this selling process takes months. That’s because prospects want to know who they’re doing business with. Talk about a paradox! Sales situations aren’t about you, yet prospects want to know you. But then again, who wants to make a purchase, especially a potentially major one, from someone they don't know, let alone trust?
John Ruhlin, in a column for Sales and Marketing Management, says the best way to beat this paradox is to “shine the spotlight on other people.” This strategy requires helping a prospect achieve something that’s been difficult for them. For example, you might offer free access to a product or service that you know will help them solve one of their problems. Did you know that “customers who were given a product were 20 percent more apt to talk it up?”
You could also offer an introduction to a connection of yours who could help your prospect with a situation that is posing a big problem. Offering this kind of connection demonstrates you're listening to the prospect and thinking about how to help them, regardless of if you're directly involved or not. Our research shows that SMB buyers want to do business with sales professionals who understand their business.
In these examples, the prospect has gained a new connection or has improved their business operations. By offering these positive changes to them, your prospect will likely make a positive value judgment about you based on your selfless actions. The next time they’re at the local Chamber of Commerce meeting, they’ll be talking with their contacts. They’ll probably mention how fantastic you and your company have been to these contacts, who are likely in the same field of business as them and could also benefit from doing business with you. And just like that, you have a referral.
The outcome would have been much different if you’d allowed your ego to run your meetings with prospects. If you’d started off a presentation by bragging about your heli-skiing adventure in British Columbia, do you think the prospect would be quick to talk about you with business associates? How to be confident without being arrogant wouldn't apply in that situation, would it?
The bottom line, is when you help others feel good about themselves, they’ll want to do business with you. And, they’ll talk about you.