Selling to someone with a massive ego can be one of the easiest sales to close, or it can be one of the most difficult. Making a little mistake or infringement to this personality type can wreak havoc with your chances of selling. A large ego creates a more fragile psyche. Playing to the ego is only part of the process. Learning how to maneuver to this type of buyer is much like a chess game.
Listed below are seven tips to take into consideration when dealing with the prima donna who thinks they should have top billing in a reps next business epic.
1. Do Your Homework. The best form of flattery for egomaniacs is to know something about them before the call. Know their favorite charities or hobbies. What high school or college did they attend? Learn about their spouse or children. Talk to someone who knows this person and find out what they are most proud of having accomplished.
Anyone can get in the door. Getting through the door for future calls is the challenge with the egomaniac. Knowing personal facts about this person before the call will greatly increase the chances of returning.
2. Use Flattery. That is correct! It is totally acceptable to tell the egomaniac that they are wonderful, but a rep must be sincere when flattering. An egomaniac can spot a phony compliment a mile away. After that, the rep needs to level the playing field and establish their credibility. The sales rep must bring something to the table. Otherwise, why should someone as important as the egomaniac listen to a mere sales rep? Be prepared!
3. Mirror them. Do this with subtlety. People relate to those who mirror their actions and mannerisms. If the egomaniac is jumping off a bridge, I am not suggesting that the rep follow suit. The egomaniac needs to be in the same comfort zone as the rep in order to drop any perceived barriers.
4. Go to Dinner at Their Favorite Restaurant. Get the egomaniac away from their office power base and on a level playing field. They are more likely to look at a reps presentation objectively when the trophies and yes men are not surrounding them. Always let them pick up the tab if they offer. It is acceptable for the rep to pay, but insisting on paying can offend them. The egomaniac wants to be in charge.
5. Let Them Do a Favor for You. Egomaniacs are accustomed to doing things for other people. It is appropriate to allow them to do something for you. Accept the offer, but do not let it put the rep in an obligatory position or compromise their integrity when the negotiating process begins.
6. Start High on Rates. The egomaniac is used to winning. Start at the ceiling of the rate card and lower the price as necessary. Come down far enough that the egomaniac feels that they are receiving the lowest rate in town. In reality, the concessions will make them feel like they have won the most important battle: money.
7. Never Let Them Down. As a cemetery-plot salesman used to say when be sold plots to wealthy clients, I'll be the last one to let you down. Never disappoint the egomaniac. Once they have been disappointed, it is an uphill battle to get back in their good graces.
Selling to the egomaniac has its own special set of challenges. They are not insurmountable, but they will test the best of sales reps. Use these tips and remember who is in charge.
Sean Luce is the head instructor for the Luce Performance Group. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As seen in Radio Ink Headlines
February 11, 2013