The Myth of the Ultra-Confident Salesperson

overconfidentMany professionals believe that in order to generate more sales they have to project an aura of success and ultra-confidence. I’m here to tell you it’s a myth.

Several years ago I “shadowed” a real estate agent on a presentation to a couple who wanted to sell their home. He introduced me as his sales coach and asked if they minded if I sat in and observed the meeting.

My client was well prepared. He was beautifully dressed and groomed. He gave an impressive presentation that demonstrated his and his agency’s success in selling homes in the couple’s area. He showed them a presentation book that included photos of homes he had sold, samples of his marketing, and glowing testimonials from happy clients.

Later, he told me he’d never felt so confident in a listing presentation. “How do you think I did, Coach?”

I told him he was very polished and made a convincing case for why he would be the best choice to list their home. But there was something missing. Despite all his confidence, he didn’t seem to connect with the couple. I thought he spent too much time making his case, and not enough time asking questions and listening.

A couple days later he told me he lost the listing to another agent. He said, “I don’t understand it. The agent they picked is a rookie. She won’t be able to do a tenth of the job I do in marketing and negotiating.”

I told him he had a golden opportunity to learn something. I suggested he call the sellers and ask them why they chose the other agent. He hemmed and hawed for a minute and finally agreed to do it.

The sellers said they were sure he could do a great job selling their house, but they picked the other agent because they had more of a feeling of “relatedness” with her.

My client went to school on this. He changed his approach. He began focusing more on his prospects than himself. He worked on creating better rapport. He asked more questions and talked less. Within a year, he became one of the top-performing agents in the city.

Flash forward several years. Last week, I met a gentleman named Rick who was in the process of interviewing agents to sell his home. Rick told me he had interviewed three agents. Two of them were very polished and spoke a lot about their qualifications and track record of success. They asked very few questions.

The third agent was much more relational. He drew the Rick out, asked lots of good questions, and seemed genuinely interested in helping him. Rick decided to go with the third agent.

Guess who that agent turned out to be? My old client.

Sales is not about projecting a powerful image. It’s not about you. It’s about relating to your customers, taking the time to understand their situation and needs, and helping them get those needs met.

Sure, the ultra-confident salesperson will always win some business. But, these days more and more people have become wary and weary of that approach.

If you want to bring in more clients or customers, take the time to get to know your prospects, ask questions, and listen.