Recently, I was sitting at the car dealership waiting for my car to be serviced, when the service advisor approached me with a sheet of paper in his hand and look of trepidation on his face. Hesitating, he sat down next to me.

“Um, Mr. Robertson, uh, your rear brakes need to be replaced.” Uncomfortable and awkward pause. “Um, they’re down to 2 millimeters and when they get below 3 millimeters…” He drifted off, unsure what to say next. “But your front brakes are fine.”

“How much?” I asked.

“Um, uh, parts and labor will be, uh, $549, um, plus, uh, tax,” said the terrified advisor.

Now, obviously, no one likes unexpected repairs, but I was fascinated by how timid this advisor’s approach was. In the eight years I have had my car serviced at this dealership, I have never felt that they were pushing unnecessary repairs (unlike other dealerships I have dealt with).

It’s not uncommon for salespeople to be timid. I have been approached by salespeople who open with an apology. I have witnessed salespeople who stutter and stammer when faced with objections. And I have seen salespeople become visibly nervous when the subject of price comes up.

Decision-makers want to do business with salespeople who are confident — and the higher up the corporate food chain you go, the more important this concept becomes. Senior executives are accustomed to discussing tough topics such as price, which means you need to be as well.

Approach these conversations with confidence. Don’t be a wimp like the dealership service advisor.

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