Study The Ego

The nice thing about egos is that everyone has one. And the bigger they are, the easier they are to read. But don't get egos confused with being egotistical. A person with a big ego has a high opinion of himself, whereas an egotistical person often acts conceited to cover an inferiority complex. I don't intend to play psychologist, but it does help to recognize a prospect with a big ego.

These individuals believe in themselves and are willing to take risks. I like to do business with this kind of person because they have the self-confidence to make buying decisions. On the other hand, people with weak egos are afraid to take risks, and they hesitate on expensive purchases because they're afraid of making a mistake. With these prospects, it's necessary to control the sale.

In the automobile business, some believe that the type of car a person drives is an extension of his or her ego. For example, the bigger the ego, the bigger the car. Frankly, this generalization is too broad for me. I've seen many people with big egos buy small cars, and vice versa. However, certain people do thrive on playing the role of Mr. Big, and these people are rarely seen driving Volkswagen bugs. They're also the kind of prospects that jewelers, clothiers, real estate agents, and gambling casino operators understandably welcome with open arms.

A good friend of mine (I can't mention his real name so I'll refer to him as John) has ghostwritten several books for prominent business leaders and celebrities. In addition to his writing skills, John is an excellent salesperson. "My subjects have huge egos, and some have wanted to me to write for a smaller amount than my going fee," he says, "so, during my initial meetings with these people, I must give a good sales pitch to convince them to pay me what I think is a fair percentage of royalties.

"I do my homework in advance by reading everything I can about them. It's quite flattering to people when they discover that I know so much about their lives, and needless to say, this scores several points for me"

"Perhaps the best way I sell myself is by letting them do most of the talking. You see, people with big egos love having a good audience, so I sit back and do a lot of listening. But I take it a step further. In addition to being a good listener, I'll pull out a notebook and pencil and jot down what they tell me - and they love it. I do this, not so much for the information, but for the enormous effect that writing their 'pearls of wisdom' has on their egos. They absolutely eat it up - and I get the percentage I ask."

Taking notes is an excellent way to stroke a person's ego, and you don't have to be a writer to use this technique in practically any sales presentation. It demonstrates your interest about what a prospect says. So again, I remind you to be a good listener - and now, an occasional writer, too. Keep in mind, however, that this technique should only be used during a fact-finding session when you're collection informal information. It does not imply that you should be written on an order pad. I bring this to your attention because it is important for you to recognize the difference between the two.