You have a service to sell. You have a prospect lined up. You have the meeting set, ready to deliver your planned presentation. Is it possible to be prepared but blow it by being too nice to your prospect?
I’m all about over-delivering and upping the customer service game, which is why one of the topics I speak about is Front-Row Service. I know that being nice, courteous, and focused while delivering value, are basic sales techniques. However, can you be too nice? Can you turn people off before they even sign the deal?
At least that’s what I witnessed recently when a home care company came to sell our family an in-home caregiver for my 86 year-old dad. As many men of my dad’s generation, he is a hand-shaker as opposed to a hugger. Just ask his kids! My husband likes to tell me “Give your dad a handshake for me when you see him!” Now I know the visiting home care woman wouldn’t have known that about my dad. However, she should have let her prospect (my dad) take the lead on how to proceed with the greeting. When she entered my dad’s house with her contracted homecare worker that was interviewing for the job, she said hello and then went right in for a hug for my dad. While I cringed at her forwardness, I overheard her waving off his outstretched ready-to-shake hand saying “C’mon – I’m a hugger!”
I thought, does she know my dad? Has she met him before? Has he reached out to hug her before so that she felt comfortable and confident to greet him with a hug this time?
I found out later that they had met once before, but no, they had not moved the relationship to the hugging stage. After the woman left with the home healthcare worker that she brought to my dad’s home, the conversation wasn’t about how the man interviewing wasn’t a good fit (that came later) the conversation was about who was this lead saleswoman, and why was she acting so overtly nice and comfortable with my dad? It was just too much. Too familiar, too nice.
I get it. I’m a hugger too. But, I’m also aware that not everyone is, so I let others take the lead if they want to take the handshake relationship to the next level. If I want to nurture a relationship, (especially talking to a prospect) I need to be aware of their level of comfort, not mine. Is it important to be nice? Of course. It goes without saying. But don’t think that all people will be open and comfortable to your overly friendly invasion of personal space. Just wait for their lead.
From your handshaking, hugging, or head-nod-adaptable to the moment, motivational speaker, Marilyn Sherman.