We currently live in a very narcissistic world today. If you are ever on social media, you will notice a steady flow of selfies and status updates that solely centered around what the person posting is doing, has received, achieved, etc.
The Problem with this Behavior
The interesting thing about this is that what motivates this behavior is the exact same thing that makes this not the best way to communicate with others.
Why We Act this Way – The Root Cause
The reason we act this way, and why we all can be narcissistic at times, is that one of the things we care about most is ourselves.
Stop to think about a hobby that you had in the past. It is likely that since you had interest and knowledge in this hobby, you would enjoy talking about it with other, learning about it, getting more involved with it, etc.
Well, one of the biggest hobbies that you have is yourself. And this is what makes you enjoy talking about yourself, sharing what it going on with you, promoting yourself, etc.
Why this is Not a Great Way to Communicate
Now stop to think about a time when someone talked to you about a hobby of theirs that you did not share in terms of having knowledge or interest. It is likely that you were completely bored with the conversation and not engaged.
Not only were you not engaged because you did not have knowledge and interest in their hobby, but you also have your own hobbies and talking about those would be your preference if you had your choice.
If this happens, this creates a less than optimum interaction where two people are not fully engaged and communicating what the other person wants to talk about.
Applying to Our Personal Lives
As mentioned at the beginning of this post, this type of pattern happens every day on social media and in personal interactions where someone might have a bit of a narcissistic slant on the conversation or the information that they are sharing.
Let’s repeat and reinforce the thought that this is understandable, because that is what they care most about. And it is completely OK for someone to care more about their own life and family than anything else. But to let these feelings be the main influence on how one communicates is where the problem occurs.
The way to hack the system here is to always be fully aware that the person that you are communicating with and trying to build relationships with have their own interests. If you hold back on or minimize how much you talk about your stuff (less narcissistic) and focus more on the other person’s interests, you can improve your ability to create more powerful conversations and stronger relationships.
Applying to the World of Being a Salesperson
While all of that might sound like a no brainer or common knowledge of how to interact with others at a personal level, you would think it is something that is completely unknown in the profession of selling because many salespeople operate with a very narcissistic approach.
While being narcissistic at a personal level might be someone only talking about and caring about their own stuff, a narcissistic salesperson is one that only talks about their products, services, and company. And all they really ultimately care about is closing the sale, making the commission, hitting quota, etc.
The Problem with this Approach
Just like the salesperson has their interest in their products (their hobby), the prospect also has their own interests and this is in the growth and success with their business (their hobby). When the salesperson is communicating in a very narcissistic way, not only are they not creating an engaging conversation that completely includes the prospect’s hobbies, but they are also more likely to appear a bit selfish and self-serving.
How to Not be a Narcissistic Salesperson
The fix here is very simple. Just as we should focus more on the other person in a personal conversation, we should also focus more on the prospect when operating as a salesperson. This is how we will be a less narcissistic salesperson talking less about us and more about them.
But how do we do that? What our company taught us primarily is a bunch of information on the products and services that we sell (our stuff). It is difficult to talk to the prospect about their stuff because we don’t really know much about their stuff, right? Here is a three-step process to help:
Step 1 – Identify the value you offer: Make a list of the benefits that your products and services provide to your customers.
Step 2 – List out the pain points that you solve: For each benefit, identify what problem or challenge that particular improvement helps to decrease or prevent.
Step 3 – Develop a list of pre-qualifying questions: For each pain point, develop a probing question that you can ask to see if the prospect has concerns in the area that you can help with.
Once you have all of that done, it will be easy to be less of a narcissistic salesperson that only talks about their products and services. All you have to do is focus more on leading with your probing questions. This will make it more about the prospect. You can also share with them some of the pain points that you help with and some of the improvements that you can make.
This will lead to talking more about them than you, which will not only lead to more engaging discussions, but also help you to communicate more clearly on how you can help leading to improved sales and lead generation.