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Think about your last few customer calls. When you first spoke, were they excited, glad to speak with you, thrilled to buy—or were they suspicious, frazzled and impatient? If you said the former, I want your job. Truth is, most prospects don’t want to be sold; it’s your job to move them from a negative emotional state to a positive one. This involves creating a structure.

Having a structure in place not only helps us increase our consistency: it keeps us balanced. Take one of the most difficult aspects of selling: the challenge of maintaining true rapport while also creating urgency. How do you connect at a heart level and then role up your sleeves and sell? Most sales leaders have told me their number one challenge is maintaining the proper tension between the two.

Conventional wisdom has long held that selling is about building rapport and making a friend. Salespeople who were nice, accommodating, and who sold to a prospect’s emotional motivators made sales and made money.

But customers have changed.

They have options. Lots of them.

With increased choice comes increased complexity. With increased complexity comes analysis paralysis.

There is growing evidence that the best salespeople today are not only skillful at establishing trust but are respectfully assertive.

According to Mathew Dixon and Brent Adamson in their book The Challenger Sale, sometimes a prospect’s greatest need is to figure out what they need. Your role is to help them do that. And doing that takes courage. Your ability to lead with heart yet also ask the tough questions will determine your sales success. The best salespeople today balance relationship-building with respectful assertiveness—heart and sell. In my book with the same title, Heart and Sell: 10 Universal Truths Every Salesperson Needs to Know I discuss 2 personas – Suzy, who is all heart and no sell, and Tony, who is all sell and little heart.

Take the Heart and Sell Quiz to determine if you lead with too much HEART or a little too much SELL and find out how to balance the two.

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