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Accommodating to a Fault

Meet Suzy, the approval seeker.

Suzy gets energized when she greets a new prospect. So much so that people wonder “How can she be that excited about meeting her 30th prospect this month?”

Suzy agrees with everyone, spends hours with prospects whether they qualify or not. Prospects invite her to their homes for Thanksgiving dinner and even offer to play matchmaker. Suzy makes friends, but she rarely closes a sale. She is accommodating to a fault.

Here are some signs that you, like Suzy, are a bit of a doormat with prospects:

  • You create strong relationships, but when it comes time to close the sale, you cower.
  • You offer extras at the expense of your own commission.
  • When you quote price, you’re quick to drop it or throw in the trip to Africa, the five-year service deal, or the upgraded sound system. This costs you credibility and respect.


Overly Aggressive

Now, meet Tony, the glad handler.

Tony’s been around for a while. He speaks quickly, trusts no one, and uses expressions like “Always be closing,” “Keep it simple, stupid,” “Coffee is for closers,” and, of course, “Buyers are liars.”

He’s memorized a dozen closes and has an answer for everything. He knows the first “no” is just a signal that the game has begun. Tony comes on too strong, just like his aftershave. He doesn’t listen…and worst of all, he doesn’t sell.

Perhaps you, too, have fallen back on some classic Tony strategies, especially during moments when you feel the prospect pulling away.

  • If you sense prospects are losing interest, you ramble on about the features and benefits of a product without even asking why they would be interested.
  • In your misguided attempts to create urgency, you fire off sharp-angle closing techniques.
  • When you lose a sale you invent excuses for why prospects won’t buy.

You may know a Suzy and a Tony or two, because the sales world is rife with them. You might also bounce back and forth between the two extremes. When the pressure is on to meet quota, we may turn up the Tony and when we’re feeling insecure, we find ourselves struck with a serious case of Suzy syndrome.

Respectfully Assertive

So what’s the solution? Top performers combine the considerate aspects of Suzy, with the drive and confidence of Tony.

They ask themselves:

  1. Am I providing valuable insights that are distinct from my competitors?
  2. Is my prospect bored?
  3. Do I need to ask tougher questions?
  4. Is it time to assume the sale, or is there something else I can assist her with?
  5. Should I back off?

One of the most important jobs of a salesperson is to manage the emotional state of the client. If the prospect seems scared, tell a story or ask a question that will help them relive a positive memory. If your prospect is bored, speed things up, simplify, or use phrases that better align with their values and concerns. Be respectful, yet assertive.

Think less about what you want to say and more about how you want the prospect to feel.

Present with heart and authenticity, but don’t forget to ask for the sale!


  • Garry Montgomery says:

    always worth a read!

  • Tania Madaan says:

    Fantastic read

  • Shari Levitin says:

    Thanks,Tania. I try but don’t always get weekly blogs out!

  • jigar vyas says:

    To the point and profound.

  • Shari Levitin says:

    Thank you, Jigar. I’m glad it was helpful!

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