THE BLOG
04/04/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Tempo of a Sale

Whereas most people buy at some emotional level (and then justify their purchase with logic), it is the process of persuading a person to buy that I want to discuss today.

Ironically, many salespeople (or other persuaders) lose a sale because they let their emotions get in the way of a well-conceived plan. Specifically, I think many people lose the ideal tempo or rhythm of a sale because they get emotional.

Every persuasive event has a proper pace to it. Depending on what you are trying to persuade another to do, and who that other person is, there is a timeline you need to consider. Most of us try to hurry the process - especially when we let emotion get in the way. The emotions that flare up the most are anger, excitement and (if it is an emotion), impatience.

I happen to be an impulsive buyer of both products and ideas. When I hear or see something that sounds good on its face, I make a quick decision. My father, on the other hand, is an engineer and very analytical. I don't think he has made a quick decision as to any matter of moment in his entire life. (I will reserve for another time why some children develop oppositional habits from those of their parents.)

Because I buy quickly, I at times try to persuade too quickly. I get impatient with people who are too analytical. I get upset, even angry, with their 10th question when I would have made a decision after question #3. As a result I begin to rush things - pushing a little too hard. Not good.

Similarly, some persuaders press for an answer when they feel they are close to the finish line. They feel that the other person is swayed by their presentation, and they sense victory. They get excited and, as a result, they press the pedal down just a bit too hard. Unfortunately, that burst of energy can backfire.

Being a good salesperson, a good persuader, means pacing yourself. It means that you need to consider the type of person you are trying to convince. If he is impulsive, give him the information quickly and then shut up (when I am a buyer, I tend to lose interest when a salesperson won't stop talking). If you are trying to convince someone like my father, buckle up for a long ride.

In most persuasive events, you need to reach a potential buyer at his or her emotional level. But, you cannot let your emotions break the rhythm of how that person buys. Most of the time, the issue is patience. As some anonymous person said:

"Dear Lord...please grant me patience.... AND I NEED IT NOW!"


Jim Randel is the founder of The Skinny On book series. These books are receiving enormous critical acclaim from educators, bloggers, journalists and reviewers. Jeff Kindler, CEO/Chmn of Pfizer had this to say about Randel's latest book, The Skinny on Success: "as far as reading goes, this book is as good as it gets."