Are You Pushing People Away by Pushing Too Hard?
While attending a conference recently, I met a fellow business owner (let’s call him “Thomas”) who, during our brief conversation, expressed interests and goals that aligned with my own. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to talk long because, frankly, it was a busy time for both of us. But I was excited about the opportunity to chat with him further. I saw synergy in our businesses and recognized some potential for alliance partnering that I really wanted to explore. So, we settled on a subsequent time to talk by phone.
While attending a conference recently, I met a fellow business owner (let’s call him “Thomas”) who, during our brief conversation, expressed interests and goals that aligned with my own.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to talk long because, frankly, it was a busy time for both of us. But I was excited about the opportunity to chat with him further. I saw synergy in our businesses and recognized some potential for alliance partnering that I really wanted to explore. So, we settled on a subsequent time to talk by phone.
And, just as I suspected, that conversation went well, too. It confirmed that our businesses might make good alliance partners, and that such a relationship could be mutually beneficial for our customers.
But, again, I was extremely busy at the time and my calendar was tightly scheduled with specific objectives for my customers. In my company (like most companies), those customers always come first and, before I moved forward with Thomas, I wanted to think a little more deeply about how this potential partnership would fit into my customer support strategy.
So, we agreed to reconvene in six weeks. That would give me time to ponder our discussion and determine the best way to work together.
Two days later, I received this email from Thomas:
It’s been a pleasure connecting with you. Given your current schedule and hesitations, however, I don’t think this is the best time to explore a partnership. Please feel free to reach out to me when you have more time and interest.
Essentially, Thomas suggested that I didn’t think the alliance partnership opportunity was a good fit (and he made that assertion based solely on the fact that I was waiting to continue the discussion). He assumed that hesitation indicated disinterest, so he executed one of the oldest sales strategies in the book: Withdrawing the offer to create desire.
In this case, it backfired.
Unfortunately for Thomas, I was interested—I was just too busy to devote my full attention to exploring the partnership. But after his email, his false perceptions have become reality.
Because Thomas pushed too hard, too soon and wasn’t able to recognize genuine interest, he blew his chances at what could have been a legitimate partnership opportunity. If he had just slowed down, been patient and given me the time I needed, we very well could have formed a relationship that would have benefitted both businesses.
In that way, I felt like the girlfriend who gets proposed to after just a few, brief dates. Maybe she did fall in love at first sight, but who could blame her if she wanted to take some time to consider the proposal? Thomas, on the other hand, was the boyfriend who couldn’t wait. Because his girlfriend wouldn’t give him an immediate answer, he moved on to find someone else to marry.
Ultimately, it’s a lesson in how NOT to deal with the people you engage—whether they’re potential alliance partners or executive prospects that are similarly busy or short on time.
Far too often, I see salespeople give up on relationships because potential alliance partners or executive prospects don’t reciprocate the salesperson’s fervor and sense of urgency. Like the overzealous boyfriend analogy above, salespeople assume that a business owner, for instance, is uninterested because he or she is unable to commit to an immediate meeting.
If you want to create lasting relationships, then you better be prepared to respect their request for time, recognize genuine interest and slow down. Doing that may not provide the immediate gratification you want, but you’ll likely be rewarded for your patience.
Kendra Lee is a top IT Seller, Prospect Attraction Expert, author of the newly released book, “The Sales Magnet,” and the award winning book, “Selling Against the Goal,” and president of KLA Group. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group works with companies to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the Small and Midmarket Business (SMB) segment.