I’m Too Often In ‘Sales Mode’ With Contacts, And I Often Sense I’m Not Being Myself (Lesson 5)

I have to admit it: My wife has a better truth detector than I do.

Or maybe it’s not a truth detector but a sense of knowing when somebody is saying one thing but thinking another.

Not too long ago, a nice, younger couple moved into our neighborhood. A few days after settling in, they stopped by our home to introduce themselves. We invited them in and had a chat, talking about our families, jobs and ourselves.

The husband, Pat, mentioned briefly he sold insurance, and his wife, Nancy, had taken a job as an assistant principal at a nearby high school, which precipitated their move to our town.

A week or so later, Pat called and invited us to a barbecue he was having for a few neighbors.

I told my wife and she said, “He’s going to try to sell us insurance.”

I laughed and said I didn’t think that was the case, but as soon as we showed up at their door with potato salad in hand, I spotted their dining room table, which had just as much insurance literature as it did side dishes.

The night was miserable. Pat was in sales mode from the word go with the three couples who were there. Whenever the conversation turned to another topic, he’d drag it back to insurance.

I asked my wife how she knew he was going to be in sales mode, and she said that he was in sales mode the first day they came over to introduce themselves. Perhaps I wasn’t looking out for it, but she gave a list of indicators that I missed.

When Pat came to the door a couple of days later, my wife kindly told him that our insurance needs were met, and we’d welcome visiting with them again, but not to be sold on a product.

Needless to say, there hasn’t been another barbecue.

Where Pat Dropped The Ball

Part of me wishes that I could go back and counsel Pat because I think he was a nice, young guy, but he’s got that “eye on the prize” mentality even when he isn’t working. People who are like that come off as disingenuous to many.

I don’t think he gets it. People, even during the course of a sale, don’t want to be sold to all the time. The potential client wants a natural relationship to develop, not a phony one forced upon them.

Pat was one of these guys who was always trying to be funny or to be “on.” He’d get a laugh and try to segue back into selling insurance. You’ve got to give it a break sometimes and just be yourself. When you do, you’ll find more success as a salesperson without trying as hard.

I believe my wife could also see through Pat because he didn’t have our best interests in mind. The best salespeople genuinely care about the client’s needs and is able to put themselves in the client’s shoes. When a salesperson can understand and empathize with a client, they are not going to come off as phony or in a constant “sales mode.”