No More Mr. Nice Guy?


Be nice. Play nice. Act nice. Nice has many slightly different interpretations, including accommodating, friendly, pleasant, good, and polite. We’re taught from a young age that nice is a good thing. So why might being a “nice guy” not be a good aspect of a sales process?

During the critical rapport stage, we salespeople strive to be friendly and to find points of commonality with a prospect.  At this point, “nice” needs to make a transformation to establish and maintain trust and respect.  A sale is about solving a problem and filling a need.  Sales is not about making anyone look or feel good, becoming friends or buddies in an effort to win  approval.  There is not a “nice guy” contest or prize a salesperson wants to win.  Nice guys are often time wasters for prospects because they can spend entire appointments joking and talking about the Super Bowl (or kids, or cars, or vacations…) and leave prospects wondering about the purpose of the meeting. Yet ”nice guys”  leave the meeting feeling great because they made a new friend.

Establishing trust and respect requires honesty, curiosity, good listening skills, problem solving, and the ability to ask sometimes difficult questions to uncover pain.  Nice guys frequently dislike pain because the feeling is uncomfortable and sometimes scary, yet pain is an essential step in making a sale.  Nice guy mentality is often superficial, while trust and respect are multifaceted and deep.

Nice guys can be transformed with sales training, practice, self-confidence, and a list of pain questions, but this process takes commitment, professionalism, and an effort to emotionally detach. Separating your personal identity from your role as a sales rep helps, especially when at heart, you really are a nice guy.

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