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The Overconfident Buyer (or, Crazy is as Crazy Does)

Overconfident BuyerI know better than this.

I mean, I teach selling skills to sales people in a broad range of businesses, and one of the things I teach is that there are four buyer types: the Gain buyer, the Pain buyer, the Complacent Buyer, and the Overconfident Buyer. The Gain and Pain buyers have a clear need. The Complacent Buyer doesn’t have a need, but she’s easy, she just says, “no thanks, not right now.” But the Overconfident Buyer?

Seriously, I know better than this. I spend a lot of time selling.

The Overconfident Buyer is the one you have to watch out for. She’s the one with something to prove. She wants you to know that, whatever it is you’re selling, she already knows how to do it better, faster, and cheaper than you could ever provide it. She has a desperate need to enter any door that even hints at an opportunity to express her superiority.

So when I received an email last night from someone who had received a recent eblast from us, an email that simply read, “Oh really. You know me? How?” I should have known. But I’ve been called Pollyanna for good reason. So I told her where we had met, and that she had given me a business card.

In three subsequent emails she challenged me on what I was offering, how I was charging for it, and whether or not I knew how to do what I was selling. I told myself she was just abrupt. I told myself she has a real need, but she isn’t good at asking for help. I told myself . . . Oh. She’s cray-cray.

The Overconfident Buyer usually has a real need, but her personal dysfunction is such that she is incapable of acknowledging it. So the moment help is on the horizon, she chases it off. The important lesson for you, dear seller, is that you can’t do a damn thing for her. So don’t be like me! End it before it even gets started.

Here are a few clues that you are dealing with an Overconfident Buyer:

  1. She is argumentative instead of engaged. She is not listening to you; she’s figuring out what she’s going to say next.
  2. She quickly redirects the conversation to things she has done, particularly if she has experience in what you are selling.
  3. If she talks about her needs, she does so in terms of how nobody can or will be able to help her.
  4. She criticizes your work. Honestly, there’s no reason for a buyer to do that. “No thank you” will suffice.

When you encounter the overconfident buyer, exit quickly. Utter a sweet and sincere-sounding, “Oh, I’m so sorry. I don’t want to waste your time with something that isn’t for you!” and turn your attention to some other pressing issue.

The funny thing is that when the overconfident buyer’s pain becomes too great to ignore, she will almost always come back for help. You may not want to help her, but hey – that’s your prerogative.

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