I was recently speaking to a group of sales leaders on the topic of confidence.   I’ve been a firm believer for years regarding how the lack of confidence kills more sales than nearly anything else.

A question came up from a sales manager regarding if it is possible for confidence to be a liability. My answer is “yes” — because of one very simple premise. Any asset, if carried too far, can and will become a liability. Confidence can be just that.

Before I explain, let me say that confidence is only going to hurt you in about 1% of all situations. That being the case, it’s certainly worth playing the odds.

One way I see confidence potentially hurting a sale is if the salesperson has so much confidence, they begin to put information such as pricing in front of the customer way too early in the sales process.

Another example might be a salesperson who is so confident they simply choose to not follow up with a customer the way they should, because they are fully expecting to get the order anyway.  So, as you can see, too much confidence can hurt the salesperson in certain circumstances.

Too much confidence also can hurt a salesperson if the customer perceives the salesperson as being cocky or arrogant.  An example of this might be the salesperson who verbally uses language that is less than professional.  Or, it might be a salesperson who allows their attitude to be seen as condescending to the customer.  Sure, these situations might be obvious to most people including the salesperson who is doing it. But that right there is part of the problem — they believe so much in their confidence, they fail to respect the customer.

The above scenarios I believe are rare. As I mentioned — less than 1% of all selling situations. However, they still are things of which you as a salesperson or sales manager need to be aware.  This is one of the reason why I believe sales managers must spend time not only with the bottom performers, but also the top performers.  If left unmonitored, top performing salespeople can develop these slight nuances that can quickly be seen as confidence gone wild.

Copyright 2011, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

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