Authenticity is about Active Listening
Approaching a customer or a client with the mindset of meeting a sales quota or bettering a previous sale is already putting a sales professional at a disadvantage. This creates a focus or a sales agenda which will block out the information the customer is providing.
Sales professionals must be authentic in sales meetings. Learning how to be an authentic sales professional means learning to be open-minded and listen to customers. This creates an opportunity to see the problem or the challenge and create an innovative solution.
Utilize Storytelling to Persuade
Customers, particularly C-suite customers, need to see how a product or service addresses their unique needs in their business. Authenticity is about hearing their story and not trying to drive the bottom line sales numbers. Active listening provides undivided attention and boosts creativity. This allows the sales rep to provide a story about the benefits of the product or the service as it relates directly to the challenge for the customer.
To be able to match the product or service with the needs of the client, sales professionals need to stop memorizing the specifications and details of the products or services and focus on the value to the customer. The value and the benefits of the products and services will create the sale – not the specs and details.
A lot of sales techniques and tools are, at best, ways to manipulate people into making a purchase. This may include playing on fears or concerns, creating a type of pressure around the sale, and driving for a close. Authentic sales professionals never pressure the prospect, they provide meaningful advice and creative, customized solutions.
Manipulate the potential buyer during sales meetings creates a palpable atmosphere of distrust and distance. While these tools may work for some buyers, they usually only work once. At the same time, manipulation may provide a one-time sale, but may also prevent even a second meeting if the buyer walks away feeling manipulated.
Persuasion is about Authenticity and Trust
Additionally, when playing mental games with the client, the sales professional is not being authentic, genuine, and effective as a co-creator of a solution to a problem. Effective persuasion is about providing information on value, benefits, and advantages of a product or service. However, it must be provided naturally in the conversation with the customer.
Being persuasive starts with understanding the specifics of how the product or service can help the customer. This knowledge is invaluable to a sales rep and provides a natural stepping stone in the dialog. Sales professionals must learn to effectively transition from hearing the customer’s story and challenge to providing a working solution for the products and services.
Read more: Sales 2.0. What the Heck is That?