Larry Levine has spent 30-something years in the trenches of B2B work, and he recognized some glaring weaknesses in sales teams he worked with. He values authenticity and he points to it as a big disconnect for many sellers.
But it isn’t just sellers. Think about how many times you’ve run into a friend you haven’t seen in a while, and you toss out the phrase, “we should do lunch.” It doesn’t usually mean anything other than “I’ll see you when I see you.”
Sellers must pay attention to their words.
Use your words
The words genuine, authentic, value, and trusted advisor prompt the follow-on question: “What does that mean?”
Start by leading an authentic lifestyle. Think about this: When you say you’re a salesperson or an SDR, you’re already behind the 8-ball already in the minds of your clients and prospects.
For every great sales professional, there are 10 that give the sales world a bad name.
When you deal with the people in your personal life, are you genuine and true to who you really are? Most likely you are. So why can’t we play that same role when we’re dealing with our clients and prospects.
Many sellers maintain a certain amount of distance in their relationships with their clients. In his book, Slow Down, Sell Faster, Kevin Davis asked how it’s possible to sell something to someone if you don’t spend time figuring out who they are?
- What makes that person tick?
- What do they care about?
Sellers try to move their prospects through the sales funnel as quickly as possible instead of investing the time to understand. Listen with intent and help them do their jobs. You’ll be surprised to find that things actually speed up.
If you don’t build a relationship throughout multiple steps and influencers, it will be difficult to sell anything. People will buy from people they know, like, and trust.
People are beginning to understand that it’s ok to bring your heart to the sales world. It’s ok to be genuine and real. But in order to do that, you have to be vulnerable, which goes against what we believe about sellers.
If you asked your prospects what they truly desire in a seller, what do you think they’ll say? Maybe someone who is honest and who can solve their problems. At some point, you’ll hear them say “I want them to be sincere and show up after the sale.”
Have a conversation like you would with your friends.
Memorizing scripts may make you sound too robotic. It isn’t that scripts are bad, but we must make the verbiage in the script our own. If you can’t align to it, you’ll struggle with it.
Imagine if you understood the person you were reaching out to. What are the issues and challenges they are facing.
If you’re calling a VP of sales to set up a demo for software, find out the issues that VPs of sales struggle with. Offer three issues that are most common for sales teams. Ask your prospects which of those three topics he can most closely align with.
The truth is that even tenured sales reps are going about this the wrong way. Instead of the phone call being focused on setting a meeting, focus the call on starting a conversation.
Time and patience matter. Your organization wasn’t built in a day. You took a series of small successful steps to get where you are.
The same is true for your sales process, but no one has time or patience for it. No one wants to slow down.
Larry recalls deciding one day to focus on quality over quantity. He focused on opening at least two new conversations with two people he didn’t know every single day. His phone skills improved and his mindset did, too.
Sellers who are allowed to focus on quality over quantity may find that they enjoy their roles a bit more because they are connecting with people.
Larry’s first mentor freed him from the pressure of memorizing his prospecting script word-for-word, and instead encouraged him to understand the foundation of the script. Once you’ve done that, make it your own.
Get back to humanizing what we’ve previously dehumanized in the sales world. There’s a time and place for technology, but human-to-human matters. Technology can’t replace every human aspect.
Larry warns against being an “empty suit with commission breath.”
Once leadership realizes that there’s a human on the other end of the sale rather than just a bunch of dollars and they set out to solve problems, watch what happens to the level of your relationships and referrals and profits.
In a crowded field, in order to rise above the sea of sameness and be seen in a different light and stand out from the sales wolfpack, the differentiating moment goes back to the human aspect.
People smell sincerity immediately. Instead of juggling personalities, be authentic.
Understand that credibility and clarity sell in a world of insincerity.
Create a transformational experience by having a conversation. As you transform your relationships, you’ll stick out like a sore thumb in a world of transactional conversations.
“Selling From The Heart” episode resources
Grab a copy of Larry’s book, Selling From the Heart: How Your Authentic Self Sells You. His website also offers an accompanying self-reflection journal.
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