Ego is an important part of most human interactions. Never underestimate its power to distort reality. Today’s idea to remember: always make a careful effort to take care of your prospect’s ego.
And if you inadvertently do anything to damage an ego, repair the damage immediately. Either take responsibility for having misspoken, or offer something positive:
“What did I just say? Let me try that again!”
Or: “I’m sorry you’re having that challenge, Mr. Jones. Did I see that you won the (whatever) award there on the wall? That’s wonderful! Obviously, lots of things are going right for you… Shall we talk about the (challenge) situation for a few minutes?”
Finally, the flip side of protecting your prospect’s ego is to get your own out of the way. Never be defensive when selling, and never take criticism personally, if you can avoid it. Simply be inquisitive, and believe the best of everyone.
Another aspect of the ego issue is personalizing problems. Many prospects will talk all day about problems in their organization; often it will be important, however, for them to see the problem as personal—their responsibility, a challenge to their leadership—for them to deal with it. In the selling process, we can often move the conversation in this direction by using expressions like these:
“So you’re feeling X.”
“So you’re dealing with Y in your organization.”
“So, Joe, you’ve got Z on your back.”