Agency3 Communications

The Myth of PMA
In today’s marketplace, low-profile selling is what works.

Quite a bit has been written in sales literature about PMA-Positive Mental Attitude. Essentially the message is "be positive, stay enthusiastic, and it will be contagious to your prospect." But when you’ve experienced the ninth consecutive rejection, there seems to be a few holes in this credo. Have you ever made a call exuding enough enthusiasm to make Dale Carnegie look like an introvert, only to have the prospect remain steely eyed and unmoved? What does our dynamic salesperson do? If you were to say, "deflate as fast as a balloon in a roomful of porcupines,” you’d be right.

Research shows that 90 percent of the time people buy for emotional reasons. In a scenario where the salesperson is excited and enthusiastic and the prospect is calm, meditative and judgmental, things are backward! It doesn't do much good for the salesperson to be emotional—he or she has already bought what is being sold. It is the prospect who needs to be excited and involved in the process. (And, if a salesperson is too over-the-top or falsely enthusiastic, customers feel they are being “sold,” and shut right down.)

People love to buy, but hate to be sold. If we change the scenario and have the salesperson exuding a low profile, “non-salesy” image, the prospect will then feel non-threatened and relaxed. They will also feel more in control—that this is their decision. When they buy into the situation, there isn't much doubt in their mind that they bought it one hundred percent by themselves, for themselves—after having made up their own mind.

Here are some examples of high profile and low profile selling behaviors:

High Profile

  • Tells more than asks
  • Thinks telling is selling
  • Is very concerned with what's in it for himself/herself
  • Makes prospect feel pressure
  • "Stalks" prospect
  • Goes for the kill (close)

Low Profile

  • Asks more than tells
  • Knows everyone is not qualified to buy
  • Is very concerned with what's in it for the prospect
  • Makes prospect relax
  • Helps prospect see value
  • Lets prospect unleash buying desire

Maybe our salesperson will not win any Dale Carnegie awards, but low profile selling works. What's more, it can be sustained for long periods of time with very little energy expenditure. So try it—less enthusiasm just might lead to more sales.

Howard Maslich
Specialized Training Services
Sales Effectiveness Specialists