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Beware the Ripple Effect

2 min readJuly 23, 2021

Be conscious of the ripple effect in your selling.

You’ve seen the ripple effect in action. Toss a rock into a still pond and the waves ripple out from the point of entry in concentric circles.

It happens in sales as well.

Think about a first call with a potential buyer. The challenge for you is whether the ripple effect from that first call will be positive or negative.

Positive means that the sales interaction was considered valuable by the buyer. And it positively colors their perception of you going forward.

Negative means that the buyer didn’t feel the interaction was a valuable use of their time. The ripple effect from this puts you at a competitive disadvantage going forward. The buyers will still talk with you. But their perception of you will shade their perception of the value they receive from you.

Something as simple as how you greet a prospect on the first call can put you at a competitive disadvantage that you’ll never recover from.

This is not an issue for just first calls. A negative ripple effect can emanate from any sales touch at any stage of your sales process.

It’s mostly about you.

Because once another person forms a perception of you, it is extremely hard to change it.

Scientists have found that perceptions are very sticky. And, once people have formed their perception of another person, even if that perception is based on demonstrably false information, they will be reluctant to change their minds.

Obviously, this works in either direction.

We’ve all known sellers who manage to ingratiate themselves into the buyer’s favor on the first call but are otherwise empty suits. And they sometimes manage to hang on and win deals. But that’s rare.

How do you avoid creating negative perceptions that generate a ripple effect?

First, be a good human. The chances of creating a negative perception in the mind of the buyer multiply exponentially if you robotically sell on auto-pilot.

Second, be thoughtful and conscious about the words you use and the actions you take at all times. Something seemingly as benign as calling a buyer “buddy” can hurt how you’re perceived.

Finally, prepare for every sales interaction as if it were the most meaningful event of your career. This means you have to bring your “A game” to each and every sales touch; no matter how small or large (whether it’s an email, phone call, video call or voice mail.)

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