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On Bad Intentions in Sales

Your language and body language project your intentions, whether or not you are conscious of this fact or whether or not you want your intentions known.

My friend Charlie Green’s trust equation suggests that the more self-oriented you are, the less you are trusted. What makes you self-oriented? What signals bad intentions?

  • Pitching your product instead of trying to help your client produce better results is self-oriented. It says to your dream client that you are more concerned with your deal than their results.
  • Mentioning your company’s profitability or your personal commission reeks of self-orientation. It betrays that you are more concerned with your gain than your clients.
  • Not really listening is an indication that what you have to say next is more important than what your client just said. You may not believe that they can feel that, but it hits your prospective client like a hammer.
  • There aren’t too many things you can do that will betray your bad intentions more than old school closing behaviors. Asking for commitments that you haven’t earned signals bad intentions.

Sometimes we appear to have bad intentions without meaning to. We believe so strongly in our product that we pitch like the devil because we know it can help, all while unintentionally ignoring the results your dream client really needs.

We push back on price by explaining that the customer’s demand eliminates our profitability instead of sharing that price is really about the investment necessary to produce the results your dream client wants.

We ask for commitments too soon, without having first built the trust necessary rather than spending the time developing a stronger foundation for our relationship. We want to go faster, and that manifestation of self-interest looks like bad intentions.

You have to want to win. You have to want to compete. But if your intentions are purely motivated by getting what you want, you will never do as well as you might in sales (or any other human relationship).


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