Salesmen: Keep Irrelevant Opinions To Yourself!


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I had nothing better to do the other day at the airport than to study the techniques of a fellow who was promoting premium charge cards. It seemed to me he was doing nearly everything imaginable to scare away business.

A gentleman sitting next to me, about 15 feet away from the vendor, called out: “Can I ask you a few questions?”

The reply: “No, I can’t leave my post—well—okay, uh, why don’t I just give you this brochure. ”

The next thing he did was to strike up a nasty conversation with a man who was wearing a bold USC shirt.

“They’re going to lose you know, ” the card seller taunted.

(His words were prophetic. Texas, as you know, prevailed in the national championship game, later that evening. )

Still, what a bozo!

How can you hope to sell anything by making people feel defensive?

I have seen this behavior not only in salespeople, but also in customer service providers and other functionaries—or should I call them, dysfunctionaries. They inject their biases and opinions into their business conversations without having a clue as to how offensive they sound.

They should go at it from a very different angle. Even if somebody asks them their opinion, they should say, “Actually, I don’t have a position on that, ” and shut up.

They might be pleasantly surprised to find that suddenly they will get along with nearly everyone, and they’ll also close a lot more sales.

Dr. Gary S. Goodman © 2006

Dr. Gary S. Goodman, President of , is a popular keynote speaker, management consultant, and seminar leader and the best-selling author of 12 books, including Reach Out & Sell Someone® and Monitoring, Measuring & Managing Customer Service. A frequent guest on radio and television, worldwide, Gary’s programs are offered by UCLA Extension and by numerous universities, trade associations, and other organizations in the United States and abroad. Gary is headquartered in Glendale, California. He can be reached at (818) 243-7338 or at:


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