Most people have a basic emotional need to be liked at some level. Bottom line, it feels good to be liked and accepted by others. Even the jerkiest of jerks may need some level of acceptance.
Yet, is it possible that being “liked” could get in the way of selling? Some would argue that people like to do business with people they like. And, I would agree. But, can too much of a good thing be bad? Maybe. So how could having a “need to be liked” or a “need for approval” become a negative attribute for a sales professional?
Sales reps with a high need for approval may focus more on being friends with a prospects rather than listening and discovery pain points. To avoid conflict, they may be reluctant to ask difficult qualifying questions that are necessary in the sales process. And, at its worse, they may be afraid to ask for the business in fear of being rejected.
Sales is not about being liked. It is about trust and respect, and there is a huge difference. If the rep is trying to get their personal “likability” needs met through sales, it will adversely affect their sales results.
The good news is that the need for approval can be overcome by role separation. This happens when someone consciously separates themselves from who they are as a person and who they are as a sales rep. This is somewhat like acting. And, by “acting” their sales role, sales reps may get over their need for approval from a prospect. Sandler sales training and other sales training programs do a great job of reinforcing this concept.
Employers want reps who can brush the dust off and get back up to the plate after hearing a big “NO.” If you need a rep with strong cold calling or closing skills, best to select candidates who believe that developing trust and respect as a sales professional is more important than being liked.
Fortunately, there are assessment tools that can measure a person’s need for approval. And, proper sales training can help reps learn how to separate their personal needs from their role as a sales rep.
Learn more about how to measure the “likeability” need of your sales team or future sales candidates.