I remember walking out of that office so confident and certain that I had closed the deal and secured the sale.
Now I didn’t actually have a signed contract yet, but the owner and I hit it off so well, there’s no way he wouldn’t do business with me.
It turned out I made a huge mistake that I wasn’t even aware of. In fact, the thing I thought I had done right was actually what caused me to lose the sale.
I bet you, if you’ve ever made a sales call, you’ve probably made the same mistake that I did. The vast majority of sales people do…
I was going to meet with Tom, the owner and manager of a medical office in West Palm Beach.
His assistant had set up an appointment with me to get an estimate to provide cleaning services for their office.
I arrived and was greeted by Tom; his assistant was out of the office that morning for a family emergency.
After a minute or so of casual introductory chitchat, I quickly found out that Tom had graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, right in my hometown.
He got excited when he found out I was a Pittsburgh guy.
Right before this point in the conversation, he was about to hand me over to one of his other staff to walk through the office so I could give them a quote for the work they needed to have done.
Then all of a sudden, he said, “you know what, Paul, let me show you around myself.”
“Great!” I thought to myself. He likes me - he’s using his valuable time to make this connection with me. This is a great sign.
So as we walked through the office, we talked about the “old neighborhood” - where I had grown up and an area he was well-familiar with.
We chatted about the glory days of the Steelers when they were winning Super Bowls left, right and center.
We talked about our favorite parts of the city - what a great place it is to live - it’s actually voted one of the most livable cities in the country.
He introduced me to everyone in the office as “the Pittsburgh guy.”
The appointment went a little longer than usual, but I didn’t mind because I knew this was heading in the right direction. Tom liked me. I certainly liked him.
So eventually I wrapped things up, and gave him the quote. He said he would get back to me the next day once his assistant was back in the office to confirm moving ahead.
“Perfect! The deal is sealed,” I thought to myself.
The next day came and I didn’t hear anything from his office, so I tried calling him towards the end of the work day - nothing.
I left a voicemail for his assistant to call me back to confirm.
The day after came, and all I heard was “crickets” - nothing… no response, no phone call, nothing.
Again, I tried calling and someone in his office picked up - but Tom wasn’t available, so I asked if he could call me back.
They assured me he would.
I tried this a few more times that week, and heard absolutely nothing.
Not even a call to say my price was too high and is there anything I could do about it - nothing! Absolutely nothing.
I racked my brain for what could have gone wrong. We had such a great connection, he clearly enjoyed our interaction, he said he would be getting back to me.
But instead he seemed to have turned into Casper the friendly ghost.
Three weeks later I was pulling into the parking lot right across the street for another appointment, and I glanced over to Tom’s office.
There I saw three guys unloading cleaning equipment and heading into the building.
I was truly baffled. It wasn’t until some time later that I realized the critical mistake I had made.
You see, Tom and I had tons in common. Too bad rapport is not the same thing as commonality.
That was the problem; I thought the very best thing I could do was to build on the common ground we had, but in fact that only served to break rapport.
No longer did Tom see me as an expert and an authority in my field; he just saw me as a nice guy, a friendly acquaintance.
People don’t want to do business with people just like them - they want to do business with people who know more than they do about how to solve their problem.
They want to do business with experts.
You don’t walk into a doctor’s office and chitchat for the first 10 minutes about where you grew up, what you did on the weekend, your favorite sports team.
That’s because Doctors are professionals - they know the value of their own time, and they are there for one purpose and one purpose only - to solve your problem.
Now that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be friendly.
But simply focusing on building commonality, thinking that is what is going to help you close the deal, is a huge pitfall that most sales people fall into.
And let me say one more thing - every human interaction is a sales interaction. Period, end of story.
Whether it’s with your spouse, your co-workers, your boss, your clients, your kids, your neighbors. Sales is one thing and one thing only: influence.
The art of influence is absolutely crucial to you achieving your goals in any area of your life.
…you cannot operate in a silo, without the human element having an impact on your actions and your results.
If you really want to understand the sales process, how it can be applied in every area of your life, be sure to sign up for my 4-part Sales Training that continues this Saturday, October 15th!
You’ll be so glad you did.
And remember, you still have until Saturday to access the recording of last week’s episode on rapport!
Once you sign up, you’ll have instant access to it in your learning portal.
Hope to see you this Saturday as I continue taking you through the entire sales process.