Some salespeople are stuck. Convinced that their way is the best way, they are surprised when things don’t go as expected. How can their gentle and friendly style be wrong? They are sure that being welcoming, sociable, and amiable are traits that will drive the sales process in a positive direction.

Friendly Sales Style

Carol and Paul are examples of this idea. Carol works in real estate; Paul sells insurance. They are warm, engaging individuals out to please their prospects. They like people, and seek to please their clients and help in any way they can.

Unfriendly Buying Styles

For buyers who are in a hurry and want quick, bottom-line results, they rarely respond well to this approach. They are focused on the transaction, not the relationship. They have a low tolerance for “outside” conversation as they are eager to conduct business.

Other buyers dislike personal conversations. They want to keep everything on a professional basis. They are protective of their information and share only on a need to know basis. Being polite and mannerly, they smile and seem to go along, but internally their resistance rises. Let’s illustrate.

The Meeting

Carol felt hurt when she received a message from a client telling her that he disliked her inquiries about his mother’s health. Knowing that his mother was sick, she asked about her. She is solicitous with all her clients. She was sure that her conduct was friendly, so how could he find it offensive to the point that he would decline her services?

Paul dresses casually, wears a big smile, and is always talking about family. He is sure that his appearance and manner generate ease and comfort for all his prospects. So he was genuinely surprised by Kevin and Erin, who responded with reserve when he asked about their family. Despite his best efforts to build rapport, he never found a groove where the conversation flowed; nor could he lower their guard. His appointment ended in no sale.


One presentation style does not fit all buyers. A big mistake most people make in sales is assuming that how they want to be treated is how their clients want to be treated. However, the best approach is looking through the eyes of your prospects and shifting your behavior to suit their wants and needs. When you exercise the Platinum Rule by treating prospects the way they prefer, you build rapport quickly and authentically and close more sales.

About Dr. Nancy Zare

A retired professor and psychologist, Dr. Nancy Zare originated the AlikeAbility™ System to teach business owners and sales professionals how to read buying styles and close more sales. She offers a complimentary AlikeAbility™ Assessment that includes the strengths and challenges of your buying/selling style. Contact her to receive your copy and free analysis of your assets and liabilities.