People like Gus pop up from time to time and can be very disturbing to people like Natalie and Steve. Who is Gus? He’s the know-it-all prospect who feels entitled and full of himself. At first glance, he may come across as an average person, nothing out of the ordinary. Yet within minutes the interaction can turn ugly. Here’s what happened to Natalie.

She met Gus briefly at a networking event. About a month later he appeared at another group that she attends and when the members rose to exchange business cards, they came face-to-face. Gus recalled having seen her and was trying to remember where. She filled in the missing information at which point he made a negative statement about the other group. Meaning to be helpful, she offered an explanation. He replied with additional judgmental comments. After a few exchanges along this same vein, he abruptly stormed from the room, leaving Natalie bewildered and stunned. She turned to Steve, who was in the vicinity, and asked how she had offended Gus.

Steve was just as surprised as she was. He then related a story about his worst sales experience. He had established a positive relationship with a COO who was excited by his proposal. The solutions Steve offered would save the company in excess of $4000 per month. They arranged for him to make a presentation to the founder.

The day arrived and, although the weather conditions were horrendous, Steve drove 2 hours in an ice storm for the meeting. As he was setting up his laptop, the founder walked in and immediately challenged him about his knowledge, credentials, capability, and expertise. Initially Steve responded to each concern. Then understanding that “his” Gus had already made up his mind, Steve stopped and said, “Since I can’t be of help, I’ll leave.” And he did.

While people like Gus are often highly intelligent individuals and knowledgeable about their field, they may lack emotional IQ and social graces. Venders, co-workers, colleagues, and bosses find it challenging to work with them. When Gus meets other individuals, he makes sure to broadcast his intellectual prowess. He strives to be precise, exact, and correct. Other people usually fail to meet these standards.

This buying style is extremely difficult for most people. Yet these people have needs, and thus have to buy. Would you be able to serve them well? Knowing personality styles gives you an edge in building rapport and closing the deal. To sell to Gus, refer to an outside expert, because it takes the focus off you and onto the subject matter. Another suggestion, praise what he knows and ask carefully constructed questions to open his mind to learn more.

To the Natalies and Steves of this world, it’s not your fault. It’s not personal. You didn’t offend. It’s just a matter of style.

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