March 4

Approval Addiction And The Negative Impact On Sales


Human beings have an inherent need to be liked. There’s nothing wrong with likeability. In the sales profession, being likeable is an asset. Likeable salespeople build rapport which builds trust and increases sales.  

This is all good---until it isn’t.

Be aware of when likeability turns into an overwhelming need for approval and acceptance. This is when salespeople move from likeable to approval addicts. (Me included.)  This is when salespeople say and do things to gain acceptance from their prospects and customers, often at the expense of gaining the RIGHT type of business.

For example, a salesperson conducts a very professional sales call.  At the end of the meeting, the salesperson knows this prospect doesn’t fit their ideal client profile.

The salesperson also recognizes from the conversation that this prospect is not willing or able to purchase their services.  They are not committed to making a change. Time to disqualify this opportunity.


Salespeople with a high need for approval have difficulty disqualifying opportunities. They avoid telling a prospect no for fear the prospect will not like them. The prospect will not approve of them.

Their need for approval overrides logic and good selling skills. So, when the unqualified prospect asks for a proposal, the approval addict salesperson goes along to get along. They write another practice proposal only to hear a predictable “No thanks.”   

Approval addiction costs sales organizations thousands of dollars every year.

So how do salespeople overcome approval addiction? Develop and apply the emotional intelligence skills of reality testing and self-awareness.   

The reality is that not everyone is going to like you.  

A prospect may not like being qualified. He or she believes that they are the only ones with the power to qualify or disqualify opportunities.

The reality is that good sales calls are partnership meetings, one where both parties are partners in determining if there is a good mutual fit.

Apply self-awareness and think of your best customers. 

My best customers expect and respect the truth. They don’t need another vendor telling them what they want to hear versus what they need to hear.  Your best prospects also expect and respect the truth.   

How much is the need for approval, approval addiction costing you and your company?

Good Selling!


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