Imagine you went to your doctor. You were in pain and expecting some help. The doctor had just been seeing someone else immediately before you. Instead of asking you the normal questions, the doctor just starts telling you, very enthusiastically, how similar your pain is to the previous patient, what is wrong with you and what medicine you need to take.

Would you trust the doctor? The doctor could be right but you will be more likely to trust their advice if they spent a little time finding out more about your specific pain rather than just making assumptions and talking, talking, talking!

Maybe some people would trust such a doctor but if you are selling into companies you need to give your prospects some credit for intelligence. You need to assume that they can tell if you are listening to them or are just interested in flogging them someone else’s solution.

People do not like being sold to, but they do like to buy. Soft Sellers look to build trust and a long-term relationship by working with human nature rather than against it.

If a prospect feels that you are more interested in your targets than solving their problems then you are unlikely to sell much. You may make an initial sale but your account will always be vulnerable because the relationship is not built on trust, no matter how likeable you are.

The time to focus on your targets is before and after the sales meeting but not during the meeting. The prospect needs to feel that your focus is 100% on them and you are going to give them the right advice for their issues. They like the fact that you have experience but they want you to apply that experience to their specific issues rather than just making assumptions.

There is a term for the condition where sales people get very excited and enthusiastically sell all over the place without bothering to take an interest in their prospect’s problems – It’s called ‘Premature Evaluation’ and there is a lot of it about!!!