You’ve met That Guy – the self-absorbed twit at the cocktail party who just can’t stop talking about … himself!

The wonderful school he went to. The great job he has. His state-of-the-art TV. His new car. His vintage clothes. Or was it the other way around?

You can’t really remember, because you don’t really care. You’re desperately looking for another guest you can hand him off to. “Say, Helen, have you met my new friend, um, what was your name again? I think you two will have a lot to talk about.”

You’d never act like That Guy, of course. You’re not a boor. You’re a people person. That’s why you’re in sales.

So now it’s Monday morning and time to make your cold calls. “Good morning!” you say. “Let me tell you about the wonderful company I represent, and the great job we do for our customers. Did I mention our state-of-the-art production facilities? And our new products?”

It’s no wonder the prospect says, “Hey, sounds great. Let me transfer you to Helen in operations. I think you two will have a lot to talk about. Um, what was your name again?”

You know how not to be That Guy in the rest of your life: You don’t talk about yourself. You focus genuine attention and curiosity on the person you’ve just met. “So you’re a professor of ancient Near East languages? What led you to such an unusual career?” Or “You change tires for a living? You must have a pretty good idea which tires last longest. So which brands do you recommend?”

You can do exactly the same in a cold call: “I saw that your firm just won an award for innovation. I’m curious — what’s one thing your company does to promote new ideas?” Or, “I”m hearing that a lot of companies are struggling with social media right now. What’s your experience?”

photo credit: tinali778

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