While the art of closing a deal requires great skill, it takes almost no effort whatsoever to blow-up a transaction. One of the fastest ways to watch a deal vaporize right before your eyes is to let your ego write checks that your skill can’t cash. If you want to close the deal, be sure and check your ego at the door. Over the years I have watched over-inflated egos kill more deals than virtually any other single factor. In today’s post, I’ll discuss how to avoid letting your ego interfere with your success.

Consummating a transaction is not about you, your wants, needs, or desires. Rather closing the deal is all about fulfilling the other party’s expectations and requirements.

If your efforts are not solely focused on satisfying the objectives of your prospect, customer, or client, then your deal will likely crash and burn right before your eyes. Selling is a service business, and not a platform to tell people how wonderful you are. Regardless of your expertise or talent level, if your stature in the transaction overshadows that of your counterpart you’re treading on thin ice.

There are numerous ways to engender confidence, establish credibility, and communicate subject matter expertise other than flexing your ego. There is a fine line yet a tremendous difference between self-assuredness and arrogance. The following three items are signs that your ego might be interfering with your ability to get the deal closed:

  1. Talking too much: The old saying “Telling ain’t Selling” is spot on. If you are doing most of the talking you can’t be listening for the information you need to get the deal closed. Great facilitators don’t conquer their opponents, they simply articulate their key points with clarity and brevity (see “Don’t Negotiate…Facilitate“). They then quickly follow-up by asking a great question to elicit more information so that they can acquire a better understanding of what the other side is trying to accomplish. If you find yourself talking just so that you can revel in your brilliance, and dazzle the other party, then you are likely on the way out the door without a deal in hand.
  2. Displaying a superior attitude: If your attire, your attitude, your demeanor, your choice of vocabulary, or any number of other items have the appearance of being contrived or pretentious it will be that much more difficult for you to close the deal. It is almost impossible to build rapport with people that you’re talking down to. Unless you place yourself on the same level as the people you’re communicating with by earnestly seeking common ground and alignment on key objectives, the conversation may never get past the ice-breaking stage.
  3. Not paying attention to detail: Most business people won’t consummate a transaction based solely upon the privilege of interacting with you. Those with whom you interact rightly expect a complete and professional approach and presentation. If you attempt to short-cut the process or gloss over key elements because your self-impression is such that someone of your stature shouldn’t have to go through the drill then you will not close the deal.

Regardless of what your title is, or your qualifications are, subtlety and humility are much more effective tools than arrogance and ego. The professionals that I have respected most over the years are those that approach business with quiet confidence while not feeling the need to tell you how great they are. They are more than satisfied letting their reputation precede them while letting their work product speak for itself. Remember…Pride becomes before the fall…Good luck and good selling!