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Eager beaver: Is your enthusiasm bad for business?

Is your enthusiasm bad for business?  If you’re on the client facing side of things, there’s a good chance that it is.  Take this recent article from sales guru and all around stand up guy Bill Caskey entitled “Too much eagerness.  Bad for clients.  Bad for you” where he pushes back on the myth that being an enthusiastic, eager salesperson helps people close deals.  More often than not, Caskey explains, it’s the cause of more lost deals than won deals.  This, of course, goes against most of what salespeople are taught-  let your passion shine through, convey emotion etc.  So what are we left with?  “The unenthusiastic salesperson”?  Sounds like a real recipe for success, I know.

But the truth is, times have changed.  Nobody needs or wants the bubbling energy and faux enthusiasm of the smooth talking salesperson of yesteryear.  We’re looking for something different now.  We’re still looking for someone friendly, and knowledgeable, yes.  But above all, we do business with people that are thoroughly committed to helping us solve the problems that matter to us.  And 9 times out of 10, enthusiasm and eagerness do more to derail that process than anything else.

The problem with enthusiasm is that 99% of the time, we’re enthusiastic about the wrong things.  Think about it, when you show up to your clients’ offices to talk about next year’s contract, is your unbridled enthusiasm coming from your uncontrollable urge to help them?  Or, are you really just excited at getting a deal done, about hitting your numbers or placating your angry boss?  Your clients can sense that, and they appreciate it about as much as you like the annoyingly cheerful telemarketer that just interrupted your meal.

So if you’re on the client facing side of your business, stay friendly, for godsakes be sincere, but consider turning the eagerness down a notch.  Take some of that caffeine fueled enthusiasm and channel it towards listening to what’s really going on in your clients’ lives.

Be genuinely enthusiastic about helping them, but never overly eager for their business or a sale.

About the author: Hi I’m Dan Green, blogger, entrepreneur, documentary film producer and negotiation specialist. I’ve helped executives negotiate deals worth up to 400 million USD. But before you read on…

4 comments… add one

  • Excellent post. Sincerity, problem solving and genuine value the prospect cares about supercede faux enthusiasm and talking over prospects with your agenda.

    Good work. Enjoyed reading it.

  • Interesting. It seems like a self-centered attitude is the root of the problem, not enthusiasm. Perhaps it would be better to view enthusiasm as amplifying your pro-client or pro-self focus, but not as an inherently positive or negative factor. What do you think?

    • You bet Grant. We’re generally enthusiastic about the wrong things- making a sale. I think people can sense that, which turns them off (and rightly so!). It’s great to be enthusiastic about helping someone, but not about making a sale.

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