As a leader of a sales organization, has one of your salespeople ever found themselves in one of these sales situations?
-The prospect requests more time to think before making a decision.
-The prospect has been leading the salesperson on.
-The prospect talks out of both sides of their mouth ("I'm happy but we do have some problems with our current supplier.")
I'm sure you can think of more challenges. Each of these situations can be deadly for a salesperson who has a strong need for approval which is primarily a need to be liked by their prospects. Now it's okay to like people. However, some salespeople can like people a little too much and work for their approval rather than to move the sales process forward and close the sale. Need for approval can be even more debilitating in a tough sales environment such as we currently experiencing.
Need for approval prevents a salesperson from closing a prospect who wants more time to think it over, from confronting (professionally) a prospect who is leading them on and from dealing with a prospect who doesn't sound like they are being truthful.
This need for approval is based in the salesperson's belief system. They feel they need the prospect's approval to feel like they are doing a good job. Anything other than the prospect's approval leads them to feel like they have failed and even feel rejected.
For those that have it, need for approval is a major weakness that must be overcome for a salesperson to be effective in the sales process. The bad news–it takes a long time to accomplish this, especially if the need is strong. The good news–it can be fixed, with hard work, discipline and coaching.
The first step is for the salesperson to change their belief system from a belief of "I need prospects to like me" to a more supportive belief of "My prospects must respect me in order to be my customer". This new belief, if consistently followed and combined with the supportive sales behavior, will dramatically improve a case of need for approval.
As a reminder for leaders of sales organizations (and for any individual salespeople who may be reading this post) the old thinking is "I need prospects to like me, then love me, then they will buy from me and respect me". The new thinking should be "My prospects respect me, they can like me when they decide to do business with me and then when they experience the value of my product or service, they can love me".
Remember, first 'respect, then 'like', then 'love'.