When Sales Experience Becomes Arrogance

WRITTEN July 27, 2017 Author: John Epstein

Briefcase in hand, I strode across the bustling turnpike toward the client’s office building.

After checking-in with Security, I took the elevator upstairs and met, for the first time, the person in Marketing to whom I had been referred by my contact in HR.

Having been in a revenue-generating role for the better part of two decades, I didn’t need to do much homework to prepare for meetings with my new contacts. After all, I had been on countless meeting like this over the years. I knew exactly what to say, what to ask and how to engage the client, right?

That day marked the last time I set foot in the building or did work for that client.

That day showed me what can happen when selling experience becomes arrogance.

Why? It was clear to the client that I was not well prepared for the meeting and that this would not be a good use of his time.

What should have been done for about 60 minutes before the meeting?

Look at the prospect’s/client’s website and learn about their:

  • strategic initiatives
  • products and services
  • key personnel
  • press releases
  • financial information (if it is a public company)
  • Competitors’ websites for the same information as above
  • Trade publications to understand industry trends
  • Business news websites for articles referencing the company and/or its competitors
  • LinkedIN to understand the background of your contact/s, and common interests or experiences (avoid referencing Facebook or other personal social media postings – stick to business)

Why the research would have mattered.

  • We ask more insightful, thought-provoking questions.
  • Discussions that are more business than product-focused
  • Realization by the client that we bring more to the table than just product knowledge

It is hard enough to find good prospects, build trust, differentiate our offerings and earn the business. Being confident in your skills and experience is important when meeting with a client.  But don’t let the arrogance of an “I got this” attitude overshadow being prepared to do your job. Conduct efficient pre-call research and you will gain a competitive advantage.


This information is from our Selling Skills and Negotiations curriculum. If you’re looking for ways to improve your communication skills, register for one of our public classes.


Other Resources:

Confidence vs. Arrogance in Sales – What’s the Difference?

Is Your Arrogance Killing Your Sales?

The Fine Line Between Confidence and Arrogance

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