Do You Have a “Sell-Me-Or-Else” Attitude?

I met a prospect several months ago who perceives himself to be an expert salesman and something interesting happened.  He judged me, not on the basis of my work, but by assessing “how hard I sold him.”  In other words, he wasn’t listening and learning about my service and how it could help his company, he was judging me based upon how I employed conventional sales tactics.


It seemed as though he was evaluating me for a sales position with his company.  How ironic, I thought, here’s someone whose sales savvy got in the way of his ability to evaluate the substance (34 plus years worth) of a business service I provide that will help his company.  Of course, I didn’t make the sale!


One could make the argument that I should have known my prospect better and “sold” him, closed harder, and played his game; especially after I understood what was taking place.  Perhaps, but I’m tired of that crap.  At this point in my business life it isn’t worth the bother.


That “sell-me-or-else” behavior is fascinating.  As a young entrepreneur in my twenties, I remember feeling the same way about people who called on me. If they weren’t hard-selling, I thought, they didn’t believe in what they were doing.  It was an attitude that challenged them to prove to me that they really wanted my business.  It was dumb then and it is dumber today!


What that judgmental sales behavior really revealed was that I wasn’t confident in my ability to evaluate their offering and wanted them to take the responsibility for [my lack of ability to evaluate] by selling harder!  The corollary to the above is: If you have an attitude that challenges a prospect, that person will be predisposed to find fault with your solution.


Steve Stroum

Steve Stroum

Steven M. Stroum, founder and president of Venmark International is a seasoned product publicist, marketer, entrepreneur, and innovator who has been featured in articles that have appeared in INC Magazine, Sales and Marketing Management Magazine, Industrial Marketing, OMNI Magazine, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Middlesex News, and San Francisco Chronicle. He has also appeared on numerous radio and television programs, addressed many Rotary Clubs and other business and civic groups, and been guest lecturer at Boston College, Babson College, MIT, and his alma mater Northeastern University.

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