You may know your company’s product lines backwards and forwards, but the simple truth about sales is your customers are buying from you. If they don’t like you, there’s a good chance they won’t buy from you. Many forget that during every sales meeting, one of the products you are selling is: you.

During the small-talk portion of every sales meeting, there’s a chance to sell yourself by answering the simple questions almost everyone asks.

We’ve put together a few examples of what, and what not to say.

How did you end up working for your company?

Seems easy, but there is some subtle subtext to it. Your customers want to gauge your interest in the company and see what kind of person you are.

Say this: Well, I worked in sales for a long time, and I learned a long time ago to gravitate towards products I believe in. It makes it easier to sell something if you believe in it.
Don’t say this: They were hiring, and I needed a job.

What do you know about our products?

Customers ask this question to see if you’ve done your homework. This is important: DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Every company has an “About Us” section on its website. Read it! You don’t have to memorize it, just understand what the company does at a conversational level.

Say this: Before I reached out to you I read a brief overview of the company to make sure our products would enhance your operations/products. I am by no means an expert on the company, but I’m very impressed with what I’ve seen and I’m interested in learning more.
Don’t say this: Not much. You make things?

What are you like to work with?

This is your opportunity to shine, to let them know about excellent customer service, product quality, examples of work with other companies, etc. However, each company is looking for something different: if they want a silent supplier, they probably aren’t interested in monthly check-in phone calls.

Say this: We operate as extension of your company, working in conjunction with your operations.
Don’t say this: Whatever you need, buddy.

Things didn’t work out

You’ve received the dreaded “Thanks for reaching out to us, but we are moving in another direction” email. It doesn’t feel great and most people will advise you not to take it personally, but it’s hard not to. While it is appropriate to reach out the person you talked with, be sure you don’t let your emotions take control of your keyboard.

Say this: Thank you so much for your consideration. It was a pleasure to meet with you. Please keep us in mind as I believe we still have a lot to offer your company.
Don’t say this: You’ve got to be sh##ing me! Big mistake! Huge mistake! You are going to regret not working with us!