Calm Down. (You’ve Got The Meeting!)

By: Jeff Hoffman

Yes! You finally made a connection with the prospect you’ve been trying to reach for what feels like forever. You are ready and eager to share the wonders of your product and eager to prove that they are a perfect fit for their organization. You also recently learned while doing some research on LinkedIn, that you share your contact’s alma mater – this is certainly to be! You are bursting with excitement. It’s “go” time.

Or is it?

There is nothing wrong with enthusiasm… but put yourself in your buyer’s shoes. It can be overwhelming, even off-putting, when you are faced with someone whose energy and enthusiasm far surpasses your own.

How do I calm down?

  1. Stop Moving.Silence and stillness are powerful qualities. There is little benefit to our constant nodding and nervous laughter. Bring a new level of active listening; (try NOT taking notes for a change) and just listen. Really listen.
  1. Lower Your Voice.Slower pacing and a lower tone of voice have a soothing, calming effect on others. Ironically, the easiest person to interrupt is the one speaking too quickly.
  1. Stop Offering Commentary.Simply ask your question and accept the response. There is no good reason for you to validate their response with your opinion or a quick reply such as “that’s great!” or “awesome!” or “I totally understand!”

How do I become more assertive?

  1. Don’t Announce Intent.Stop explaining that you are going to do something, and just do it. Have confidence in asking for what you want, and equal confidence that you can handle a customer’s “no.” Don’t say: “I’d like to show you this feature during the demo.” Try: “Look at this.”
  1. Answer Succinctly.When you are asked a yes or no question simply respond with “Yes” or “No”.   Don’t feel the need to justify and elaborate upon your response. Then remain silent and let the customer provide more context and color to their question.
  1. Start with Conclusion.If you want to come across as less “salesy” try this approach. When you lead with the conclusion you command a high level of social value. For example, instead of explaining all of the reasons why you want to meet the contact’s boss before you ask the question, invert it. Try: “I suggest we escalate this conversation to include your manager. Here is why.”By providing your reasoning after your conclusion (instead of before) you appear more confident and less needy.

At the end of the day, being calm and assertive is always a winning strategy, because it forces you to be genuine and to slow down. This forges a deeper connection and understanding that may just lead to a closed deal sooner than you even expected.

Remember: patience with customers, and inpatient with pipelines. Not the other way around.

Happy Selling!


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- Bret Wilbur, Director of Sales, TriNet

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