By Tibor Shanto – firstname.lastname@example.org
Too many sales people spend way too much time and effort trying to be or look perfect. Whether it is refining that radio voice for telephone selling, or the right look for the call, using the fashionable buzzwords, or a host of other things sellers do. An awful amount of energy and resources go into image and looking good, to the point where the polish detracts and distracts from the purpose at hand.
The reality is that people are not perfect, at least not in the real world, and the perfection some seek could be at odds with the expectations of the buyer. Take the popular notion and adhered to buzz-phrase, popular among sales types is that “people buy from people”, implicit in that is that people by from people like them. Being too polished to the point where we resemble the cover of GQ more than we do the people the buyer is used to dealing with on a daily basis, may lead to the opposite outcome to the one desired.
Being human, including the frailties and blemishes may put a seller in a better stead than trying to be the Madison Avenue or Hollywood version of a sales professional. In fact imperfections can often work in your favour by making us look and feel human rather than something artificial. Trying to be something most of us are not, that is perfect, can distance a buyer.
A common attribute of good sales people is being genuine, and one buyers appreciate and look for in a seller, if they sense a seller is not themselves or disingenuous they begin to question the seller’s intent. Intent counts for a lot, and many will tell you that intent trumps skill, product knowledge, and certainly outranks polish, image or smoothness.
No matter how experienced or good you are as a sales person, it is better to focus and demonstrate that in the quality of your selling, your ability to gather the right information about the right issues, than relying on strictly polish. To this day I do not have or use a radio voice when cold calling, I stumble and stutter at times in the same way I did 20 years ago, but he content of my talk track, the underlying intent helps me content with buyers and set appointments.
We have all been in meetings where you may dropped something, or something goes wrong with technology you are relying on, but instead of the meeting going south, that awkward moment removes a layer of the barrier between buyer and seller. I remember a meeting where the buyer was cold, tough, hardly engaged, and while reaching for something the sales person spilt a bottle of water on the conference room table and on her pants. The buyer sprang into action, genuinely concerned for and her dilemma, and remained very engaged for the rest of the meeting, and ultimately bought. The spill changed the dynamics and I would say the outcome of the interaction and the meeting.
Time and time again, common unintended errors, lead to an instant human connection that facilitates the connection between buyer and seller. While I am not suggesting you go out and look to err on purpose, I am saying that the energy and time we spend trying to be perfect or avoid looking or being human, can be better invested in understanding the buyer, their objective and how you can help them. If we do that in a genuinely human way, warts and all, rather than a superhuman way, we’ll see a much more genuine response from prospects, and achieve better results faster.
What’s in Your Pipeline?