The 1 Thing All Great Salespeople Do The Moment They Walk In The Door

Some salespeople are entitled: they believe they’re destined to make a sale just because they’ve scheduled a meeting. So they act like it’s a done deal—they don’t drop their guard and let buyers see their true self.

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The problem with this approach is that your prospects will go on the defensive when they see you’re not willing to humble yourself, to put in the extra effort. You’re telling them you don’t really care about them or their problems because you’re just there to give a pitch and secure a sale. As a salesperson, your first responsibility is to make people like you. You have to show them you genuinely care about them and their issues. In order to do this, you need to sincerely have their best interests at heart.

Listening to prospects, understanding their problems, and offering them something of value is how you succeed.

That’s why I approach every sale with this mantra in mind:

Be attentive and listen.

When you want someone to buy your product or service, it’s imperative that first, you listen, then you speak. You have two ears and one mouth for a reason, and your job is to listen and ask questions that will help your prospects realize why your offering will help them, and why they need it.

What makes a great salesperson: Skilled salespeople strategically control the conversation.

When I go into a sales meeting, I don’t talk incessantly and try to close the deal during the first minute. Instead, I ask questions about people’s biggest challenges, their pain points, the bottlenecks that impede their company’s growth.

Skilled salespeople strategically control the conversation by timing their questions. 

In the beginning, you should ask a lot of open-ended questions to gather information and build trust. When you’re ready to close the deal, however, you should switch to more rapid “yes” or “no” inquiries.

At this point in the dialogue, I try to get a prospect to say yes multiple times to other questions, this psychologically prepares them. Once they confirm what their problems are, you can offer a solution they can say yes to.

This allows you to work with what you’ve got.

When people ask me how I make so many sales, I tell them my approach: I’m a 6’9” loud guy who loves to push boundaries in sales meetings. I crack dirty jokes and use swear words to lighten the mood. I’m slightly obnoxious but in an endearing way.

But what works for me won’t necessarily work for you.

I always warn people they shouldn’t mimic my style because sales is not a one-size-fits-all field. Maybe you’re not naturally funny, but you have unmatched technical skills or are a whiz at running numbers. You have to find what works for you and play the cards you were dealt.

I can remember training a young woman who was on the opposite end of the size spectrum—very petite. And initially, she was ready to go in loud and make jokes just like I did. I had to tell her, “People won’t respond the same way. It’s not going to work as well for you.”

So, she tried a few different approaches, and she finally hit on one that works great for her. She walks in wearing a tough businesswoman demeanor and just owns the room. People don’t see it coming, but they end up respecting the hell out of her by the time she’s through.

Don’t try to copy some image of a salesperson you have in your head. Play to your strengths and try some different styles until you find what’s best suited for you.

It gets to the real sales secret—caring.

No matter your approach, you have to want to help others. As long as you’re authentic, people will be receptive to what you’re saying.

I have a friend who sells cars, and he genuinely cares about his customers. He sends them birthday and holiday cards, asks about their kids, and calls them just to check in. Because he’s cultivated these relationships, the bulk of his business is referrals—he almost never makes cold calls.

If you regularly keep in touch with people, they won’t have a negative reaction when you call them and will be more open to buying from you. There’s a quote I really love that sums this up: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

While good salespeople are problem solvers, the top performers focus more on the human element of people over product. After all, everybody wants to be heard, appreciated, and respected. Show people you care, and you’ll close more deals than you ever thought possible. 

Sami Rusani is a serial entrepreneur with several multi-million dollar businesses. Under the capacity of his media group, he has served as a marketing, branding, and growth consultant for various startup companies and global brands, such as VISA, Heineken, Mercedes, Sony, Virgin, and many more. Sam is currently serving as Chief Revenue Officer for ShipChain and is heavily involved in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space in both advisor and fundraising roles.

  • Originally published February 25, 2019, updated April 26, 2023