Avoid the Annoying Tendency of One-Up-Man-Ship

Let your customer or prospect bask in their glory.

A while ago I was purchasing a new car. The sales rep and I were on a test drive and chatting back and forth.  For whatever reason, I shared a football  ‘glory days story.’  Almost immediately, and without acknowledgement of my tale, the rep launched into his glory days story and, if it was true, it was much better than mine.  In about 30 seconds, he one upped me. Then he told a story of his uncle which was even better.  I guess you could call it a ‘two-up.’

And therein lies the problem.

At this stage there was a disconnect with me and the sales rep for a couple of reasons. Something changed. I didn’t feel quite so special.  First, it told me the rep wasn’t really interested in me or my story.  He wasn’t listening to my tale and thus, not listening to me.  He was simply waiting for his chance to speak.  It was … annoying. In effect, he was saying the story wasn’t important … and by default, I wasn’t important.

Second, he made the moment about him and not about me.  It was supposed to be my moment of basking in the sun.  That his story was a step up from mine was somewhat deflating; it diminished my yarn.  Of course, I recognize that to some degree the guy was trying to ‘empathize’ by providing a related story. He probably convinced himself that his story was rapport building. Quite the contrary.

But here’s the thing: I wasn’t interested in the rep’s story.  And it was clear that the sales rep was not interested in mine.  But the one difference between the two stories was this:  I was the customer; the person who wanted to buy a car.

SELLING LESSON: Let your prospects or customers tell their stories. Nod. Ask a question about the event. Say ‘wow.’  Acknowledge the story. Provide praise or wonder. Make the moment about them.  But don’t …whatever you do… don’t counter it with your tale no matter how enticing it may be .

The customer or the prospect ALWAYS gets the nod. Their story ALWAYS trumps your story.

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