Everyone has had this happen…probably more than once.
You worked hard and smart, thought you did a great job, expected to win the business, but didn’t. Later, you learned that the prospect “Didn’t really like your style.”
It’s not at all unusual, but it is almost always misinterpreted. Salespeople tend to take this personally by internalizing the comment as, “They just didn’t like me. But why?”
What most salespeople fail to understand is that “style” is really code for something completely different. I have listed 12 possibilities that style could really mean. Think back to one of those situations and determine how many of these 12 could have been the real culprit:
- Relationship – it wasn’t strong enough and you failed to connect. In extreme cases this would be termed a personality conflict.
- Resistance – you were not effective enough at managing their level of resistance and it failed to drop.
- Accommodating – you were actually too accommodating and failed to gain their respect. They saw you as a facilitator as opposed to an expert, a resource or an adviser.
- Value – the prospect failed to receive value from the time spent with you and considered you to be more of a vendor or supplier than a resource or adviser.
- Content – they did not like what you presented, suggested or recommended. It wasn’t what they wanted to hear.
- Listening – they didn’t believe that you listened to them or to what they wanted. You were too interested in following and achieving your own agenda.
- Authority – your statements lacked authority and you failed to establish credibility. You were just like everyone else.
- Aggressive – they found you to be too confrontational, or obnoxious.
- Intellectual – you relied too much on facts, logic, and figures and failed to include anecdotal stories and examples. You weren’t engaging.
- Cultural – they have a defined culture, specific core values, and you didn’t fit with their culture
- Flow – your meeting or call wasn’t conversational, it lacked the give and take and back and forth associated with being a mutually authentic conversation.
- Expectations – they had certain expectations of you, your capabilities, your offering, the meeting or call, and you failed to meet those expectations.
Have you been guilty of any of these dozen? If so, what can you do to improve?