Save the Passive-Aggressive Behavior for Your In-Laws

By December 8, 2016Selling

When you’re closing the deal, there’s a lot riding on the decision on both ends of the conversation. If you’re confident in your ability to get the work done and make the client happy — good. That’s the way it should be. However, that’s not always the case. What many don’t realize is that if you aren’t careful with your confidence, it can translate into aggression. Similarly, if you aren’t confident in your ability to deliver but need to close the contract to meet financial obligations, it could translate into passive selling. Don’t fall into the trap of extremes in the selling process. Instead, try an assertive approach.

Why doesn’t aggressive selling work?

“If you don’t sign you’d be crazy. Are you ready to change the world?”

“Thanks for calling me crazy – I’ll pass, thanks. You aren’t the only game in town.”

When you’re being aggressive in the selling process, it may not translate well. If you come across too aggressively in the sales process without realizing it, your client will have a greater incentive to walk away. And, if closing the deal is the start of the relationship, they may get the impression that aggression is going to be how the relationship will work moving forward.

Why doesn’t passive selling work?

“Please sign with us – we could really use the work.”

“That’s interesting – that tells me that you are struggling to maintain your client base, and there must be a reason for that. Thanks for coming by. We’ll be in touch at … a later date.”

Dogs can smell fear. So can your clients. If you are too passive in the selling process, you will appear to lack confidence in your ability to deliver on promises. If you’re willing to accept a ‘no’ as the almost inevitable answer, it will show itself; and the likelihood of closing the client will be directly reflective of that lack of confidence.

Why doesn’t passive-aggressive selling work?

“You could go with someone else, sure, but you’ll probably regret it. Not many people don’t go with us. I’m just saying.”

“Okay, I’m picking up what you’re putting down. I don’t appreciate hearing I’ll regret it – you’re questioning my decision making process if I don’t go with you, which undermines my confidence in your ability to trust that I know what’s best for my company. Thanks for coming, now it would be wonderful if you would leave us so we can get lunch without you. See what I did there?”

Passive-aggressive behavior is something that should be best left for your in-laws asking about your financial stability, or why you don’t call more often, or why you haven’t been over for dinner lately. Leave it at the dinner table, don’t bring it into the boardroom. Stop trying to guilt them into signing with you. They know exactly what you’re doing, and will have the same reaction that you would in a similar situation.

Why is Assertion different?

“We’ve seen everything, and we know you’ll be happy with us. We’ll be able to deliver on the deadline at the quality that you expect. We know that you have a lot of choices, but I know we’ll be able to get the work done. What will it take to get a firm commitment from you to move forward?”

“I’ll need a few days to run it by my team, but I feel good about where this conversation is going. Let me make sure I have all my ducks in a row on my end first before we move forward.”

Look – you know you can get the work done. You know that they’ll be happy with your services, right? Just translate that. Give them the overview of every point that you’ve made, and remain confident that you’re the provider that they need.

Bring ‘em in, tell them why you’re the best, and close the deal.

Don’t be pushy, don’t be mushy, and don’t guilt trip. It’ll never work. Be assertive and let the customer give you an opportunity to prove why they made the right decision when they signed with you. And as always – keep Brewing Your Skill!



Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Nicole Villwock says:

    Thrilled to be provided with actual examples and dialogue rather than being talked through what to do. I wish all tips and tricks were this clear from coaches and those presenting seminars. Thank you.

    • Great feedback Nicole, and you’re right, it’s important to see firsthand how something works rather than just hearing about it. Thank you for your engagement and please share with friends who you feel can benefit from this, as well. Happy holidays!