Aug, 2017

Oversharing is a Sales-Opportunity Killer

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A common occurrence, especially with solopreneurs, is the problem of oversharing. Oversharing is the act of sharing too much or unnecessary information. We see it on social media when people share way too much personal or private information with their network. You know the friends who do it.

In this post, I want to talk about oversharing during sales situations either in person or over the phone. I have overshared during sales situations, and I have personally seen what that can do to a sales opportunity. It is the equivalent of a self-inflicted gun-shot wound; you have no one to blame but yourself.

Why Do We Overshare

The reason we overshare in sales situations is that we are ill-prepared and are often without a gameplan of what we are trying to accomplish. Silence is the trigger. When we are uncomfortable with silence, we panic and start babbling and saying the first thing that comes to mind. And, unfortunately, the first thing that comes to mind is usually the wrong thing.

I was just speaking with a client who had a telephone meeting with a prospect. She said the meeting started well but ended with the prospect saying “I will keep your information on file.” When we spoke after the meeting, it was easy to see what had happened. Her not being clear on she was trying to accomplish resulted in her oversharing details about her business that caused the prospect to have unspoken concerns.

What did she share? She shared that she hoped to be doing her business full-time in the future. She also said that she would welcome the opportunity to learn with different types of work. I am quite sure that the two statements caused the prospect to move from being interested to being uninterested because, were I the prospect, those two statements would cause me to be concerned. The first fear would be that my work or project would take a backseat to her full-time job. The second fear would be that, since she was looking to learn, I would end up funding her training. The prospect will not tell you they have those concerns, they will just say “Great, I will keep your information on file.”

Don’t Mistake Oversharing with Being Authentic

I am not suggesting that this client should have lied to the prospect if he had asked directly if she would be working in her business full time. You should always be truthful, and I would never advocate misleading your prospects. My client has great history and a background that her prospect would have been fortunate to tap into. However, her nervousness caused her to overshare and not talk about her strengths, which may have caused the client to perceive her workload as a weakness rather than as a sign of her ambition and work ethic.

Have a Plan

Without a plan of what you are trying to accomplish in the meeting, you are more likely to have periods of uncomfortable silence and a disjointed conversation with little or no flow. Neither party will be satisfied as no one will get the desired information. A simple agenda will help make sure that you cover all the areas you need to in order to offer guidance and solutions.

Silence Works Both Ways

Don’t feel the need to always fill the air with words. When I ask a prospect a question, I often wait a few extra seconds. Often times, the silence encourages the prospect start to tell you more information, and some of that will be oversharing and revealing the true extent of their problems. In all likelihood, you requested this meeting, so it is your responsibility to respect the time the prospect has granted you.

It happens to us all at times, me included, but it is much less likely to happen when you are prepared and know what you want to share.

What is something that you have overshared during a sales opportunity? Tell us about it in the comments.


3 thoughts on “Oversharing is a Sales-Opportunity Killer

  1. Jennifer

    I was originally trained to get research a lead’s background, including geographic location, so I could make small talk about home towns and sports teams, etc. But I know some sales people go WAY overboard and discuss their personal lives.

    Of course, there’s another way to ‘overshare,’ and that is revealing too much about business procedures. At some point, you might end up educating the lead to the point they can get what they need elsewhere and even do it themselves.


  2. Kelly

    I think in some situations there is a fine line between oversharing and “being relatable.” When I worked in sales, I always found that if my client could relate to me, and I built a relationship with them, then it made the sale easier. I guess I gained a sense of trust with my client. This meant I may have shared a lot of information about myself, but perhaps only the positive sides, for example, my client would say, “I’m planning a trip to Morocco,” ” I would say, I went to Morocco in 2012 – we had amazing weather and did…” when in fact, though I did go to Morocco, I hated it, but if I told my client that the relationship would end and I’d probably lose a sale. Anyway, that’s just an example – I’m sure you get my point.


  3. Rachel

    What a great piece! This got me thinking about a client who never responded again after I thought I already landed a good paying job. I later discovered I overshared my personal details and perhaps he figured something that caused him to feel I’m not a good fit for the job. You’ve said it all; say a little and allow your potential client to come up with words, that alone, you’re sure on how to tackle the answers in a way that it pleases the client at least. Great read! Thanks.


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