Have you ever experienced the unpleasant feeling of being “sold” to without the salesperson caring about your goals, wants, or needs? It's a nauseating sensation, and it's likely that we've all been through it at least once.
If you're like most, you've heard the golden rule of life, “Treat others as you would like to be treated.” Well, the golden rule of sales isn’t too far from it: "Create the sales experience you would want and then relentlessly deliver it to those you serve.”
Yet, we're bombarded by bad sales reps that try to convert us with a sales approach that is not truly theirs…and it shows.
In other areas of their lives, they're perfectly normal. But, when they pick up the phone to run their sales strategy, do cold calls, or send out cold emails, they transform into someone else.
Suddenly, authenticity goes out the window, and they become something resembling plastic. They attempt to mimic another sales leader's style or mechanically follow a step-by-step process.
This just isn’t how sales works.
Let me explain.
The Lost Art of Keeping It Real
Developing genuine relationships with potential B2B buyers is essential to closing more deals. Authentic salespeople are able to understand the customer's needs and provide tailored solutions that meet those needs.
Building trust and credibility during the sales conversation creates loyalty and repeat business. It also moves deals through the pipeline faster.
The qualities of a truly genuine sales professional include being honest, reliable, knowledgeable, empathetic, and passionate about what they do.
- An honest salesperson will always tell the truth about their product or service and never make false promises.
- A reliable salesperson will be available when needed and follow through on commitments made to customers.
- Knowledgeable salespeople have an in-depth understanding of the products or services they are selling as well as the industry they are working in.
- Empathetic salespeople are able to put themselves in their customer’s shoes and understand how their product or service can help them achieve their goals.
- Lastly, passionate salespeople genuinely care about helping others succeed and take pride in doing so.
According to Jerry Acuff, "the one thing every [successful salesperson] has in common is that they learned the fundamentals of selling by thinking like a customer and then implemented those ideas with authenticity and just being themselves."
"the one thing every [successful salesperson] has in common is that they learned the fundamentals of selling by thinking like a customer and then implemented those ideas with authenticity and just being themselves."
It turns out authenticity involves more than just what is seen on the surface. People with a high emotional intelligence (EQ) tend to make more money each year than those who lack honesty, reliability, knowledge, empathy, and passion. Moreover, people with these qualities are better at working in teams and have an easier time adapting and making changes to be successful.
Just like in life, B2B selling (or any kind of sales skills) requires you to find authentic FLOW. You can’t flow if you're obsessing over a static list of sales tips and tricks you picked up from a random social media sales guru. That's what average salespeople do.
Exceptional sales leaders find flow when you spend time getting to know yourself. This means developing a better understanding of yourself, the genuine needs of your ideal customer profile, and of the world around you.
You find flow when you understand your personality, what makes you tick, what excites you, and what motivates you. When you become genuinely interested in yourself, you become genuinely interested in everybody around you. This is what makes customer interactions feel more honest.
This makes selling NATURAL.
This makes selling AUTHENTIC.
And the beauty is, it's not because you’re trying to be natural or authentic. It's because you ARE those things. Prospective customers will be naturally drawn to you if act yourself and put them first.
Try and be something you're not...and watch your close rate crash.
Why Being Yourself Wins Every Time
In the end, being yourself in sales is about being honest. Both in your own abilities and your deficiencies. If you are skillfully intelligent, show that. There's nothing wrong with wowing prospective clients by showing your technical understanding of their condition. If that's you.
However, if you're unconvinced that your products can be useful to the prospect? Pretending to be is a despised sales game. It's a sure way to shut down any attempt at building rapport and may actually backfire.
Great sales teams focus on the customer's needs. Rogue sales reps that try to manipulate others or attempt to follow some “secret formula” to success come across as rigid, mechanical, or cold. Almost as if they’re a ‘personality chameleon’ trying desperately to adapt to what they believe the situation requires to close the deal.
The best salespeople know themselves and can easily enter flow.
Inauthentic salespeople are chameleons who will do anything and say anything to make the sale. They over-simplify their potential customers by assuming they know exactly what they want to hear or experience during the sales process.
Want to accelerate your pipeline and close more deals? You must follow the golden rule of selling. Not merely to "sell to others as you think they want to be sold."
But, "Create the sales experience you would want and then relentlessly deliver it to those you serve.”
5 Personal Questions To Help You Find Flow and Sell Better
Like I wrote earlier, to get better at closing deals and selling, you need to understand yourself - not as a salesperson, but as a human and a customer.
Think about the following questions from your buyer personas' perspective:
- Do I prefer simple explanations or do I need more details to feel comfortable?
- Do I prefer to be spoken to very directly? Or do I prefer it when people sugar coat things for me?
- Do I want help throughout the entire sales process, or do I want to be left alone to ponder the details?
- What kind of visuals (pitch deck, business case decks) would help me understand the offer I’m presented?
- What am I missing here that would help me communicate more clearly?
Fortunately, this is not a test you can fail because there are no right or wrong answers. But these questions will help you achieve sales success. Once you learn these things about yourself, you will be able to sell your products and services more naturally.
Okay, so now you know yourself, but what about the customer – what about what they want?
Customers want to do business with people they can trust and relate to; someone who understands their needs; someone who has a true desire to help them.
If you show signs of insecurities, your customers will pick up on these and feel apprehension in trusting you – it’s just human nature.
By being yourself and selling how you would like to be sold, you create a genuine approach to truly connect with your customer.
As cliché as this sounds, all of this is only possible if you believe in yourself and your product. This unwavering belief can’t be forged or replicated – it has to come about naturally.
Surely you’ve heard some sales pitch and thought, “Wow, this person is full of it and just reading a memorized script.” Well, when you kid yourself as to who you are as a salesperson, your customers will smell it and look elsewhere.
“Create the sales experience you would want to experience and then relentlessly deliver it to those whom you serve.”