Have you ever come out of an important meeting with a strange feeling, thinking, “Did I maybe overdo it a little bit?”, “Were my reactions too spontaneous, not professional enough?”. If you have, I offer you a short article on this topic.

“We have a deal!” - does spontaneity help in sales?

What do I mean by spontaneous reactions? In my opinion, these are behaviors that don’t fit the rigid etiquette of business meetings and of contact with clients. Excessive joy is one example of such a response.

Example: Imagine that you’ve just signed a large contract and you’re so happy that you shout a triumphant ‘yes!’ and you jump for joy in your client’s office.

Is this obviously bad behavior? It’s difficult to answer this question unequivocally. The problem with this kind of spontaneity is mainly that you don’t know how your behavior will be perceived by the other party. If you follow accepted business etiquette, you won’t be exposed to such problems. On the other hand, you become the same as all the other salespeople, cut from the same cloth, dispassionate and unmemorable. And, as you well know, one of the guiding principles in sales is ‘stand out or die’. Being authentic and unique certainly guarantees that the client will remember you for a long time. The question is, how will they remember you? This largely depends on what communication preferences a particular client has, and how they interpret the situation.

Client communication preferences

Having worked in sales for many years, I was fully aware that as people we differ in character, communication style, and attitude towards our environment and our lives. But only I really understood these differences when I decided to become a business coach. I went to coaching school and took part in a five-day communication training programme. It struck me that each of the dozen or so present people interpreted the events and emotions that occurred during training in a completely different way. This experience helped me get to know myself and my own style better, and at the same time I experienced how others perceive me and learned that I could never predict their reactions to my behavior.

In my opinion, clients’ reactions to spontaneous behavior from salespeople generally depend on their preferred communication style and the way they function in society. If you want to know the details, I encourage you to explore the typology proposed by Carl Jung. For the purposes of the article, I will only mention that there are people focused on achieving their goals and on rivalries with others, people focused on their social impact and on ‘making it happen’ (most salespeople), people focused on personal relationships, and people focused on details and data. If you, as a salesperson focused on action and influence, show strong reactions when dealing with a client who is similar to you, nothing bad will happen - exactly the opposite. Most likely, the client will think you’re ‘just like them’ and will want to keep doing business with you. However, if you react the same way when dealing with an analytical person focused on data and particulars, you’ll be written off as unprofessional, or even as unhinged and aggressive. And you certainly don’t want that.

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