Unexpected things can happen in sales.
I remember years ago I had a call with a department's leadership team.
It had been a stressful day and I probably wasn't in the most resourceful state.
As the call opened up the department's head mentioned the weather (got to love rapport-building weather chat).
But I wasn't in the right frame of mind for small talk so I pretty much ignored his platitudes.
Very audacious of me given I was the sales rep in this scenario with the task of securing their business.
But then something strange happened.
The head of the department began listening to me intently and was hanging on my every word. The rest of the team followed suit.
It seemed that because I was being direct and commanding in conversation there was a shift in the dynamic, and wherever I was leading they were following.
The conversation resulted in contractual business, and though at the time I was surprised, with hindsight it made sense.
Senior directors and heads are often put on too high a pedestal by salespeople. This results in an imbalance in the dynamic.
The department head was probably used to being treated this way and so this approach, whilst unexpected, may have been quite refreshing for him.
A salesperson who was actually leading in a no nonsense way. No pandering. No subservient behaviour. No smarmy rapport building.
And whilst it worked in this particular scenario, almost accidentally, there is a fine line in purposefully using this approach. It would be very easy to ruffle feathers and piss people off.
But the takeaway is that salespeople shouldn't be afraid of leading confidently, pandering less and being bold - if done in a courteous way.
People appreciate directness and leadership, particularly in sales.