Does It Matter if My Prospect Likes Me?

Does it really matter if you’re liked as a salesperson? Is that a worthy goal to pursue?

January 12, 2017

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In my first job out of college I managed some feedback software we used for our corporate website. I was involved in the purchase decision of one particular solution, but was definitely not the decision maker. I was however the main user, so I went to their user conference. It was one of the first conferences I ever attended. I was intimidated in a big way, worried about how to act, who to talk to and how to represent my company. My sales rep at the time, took me under his wing at the conference. He talked to me, sat with me, introduced me to other people and made me feel important, even though I’m sure he had many more “important” clients at the event. Years later, when I think about the best kind of salesperson, I think of him.

I was not alone in my views of this rep, everyone from our company that worked with him, liked him alot, but does it really matter if you’re liked as a salesperson? Is that a worthy goal to pursue? Intuitively it would make sense that it does, but we recently did some research that showed us just how big of a difference it can make and what factors make the difference between a sales rep that is loved or disliked.

In a 2016 survey to 2000 B2B buyers in the US, UK and Australia, buyers were asked if a sales rep influenced a recent purchase decision. Reps that were unlikely to be recommended only influenced the decision 37% of the time, while great sales reps did 79% of the time. In other words, if your customers like you as a salesperson you being in the equation makes a big difference. If they don’t like you, most of the time it does not matter if you’re part of the process or not, you’re deadweight!

There are some traits that are critical for you to be liked by your customers and prospects. For example, in the same survey, when a decision maker made a purchase and was a big fan of the sales rep, 92% of the time they said the sales rep had a clear understanding of their business needs.

What else can a sales rep do so that your prospects and customers like you? According to our research these are the top 5 factors that made the difference between reps that are loved and reps that are disliked from the perspective of your prospects and customers.  

  1. Strong relationships with influencers at my company

  2. Highly knowledgeable about our business

  3. Had a clear understanding of our business needs

  4. Came across as transparent and trustworthy

  5. Well-connected with others in their field

Even though the age old advice to not worry too much about being liked is true in most situations, in the sales profession extra effort to be liked can have real business results.