When I started my sales career over 25 years ago, the best sales approach was much different. Looking and sounding like a salesperson, to a certain extent, was a good thing. There was almost an added professionalism in the actions of choregraphing your salespersonship. Where prospects could watch and say, “He (or she) is a great salesperson.”
Times have changed. Prospects no longer like that approach. It now feels salesy and disingenuous. Unfortunately, there are still sales methods taught that are salesy and almost brag about it. Gimmick after gimmick that frustrates and insults prospects, especially in a B2B scenario. But fortunately, there are methods that are equally tenacious without the prospect feeling it. Focusing on human nature and selling in a way that we would like to be sold to, is the key.
Today, it’s about being a good partner and consultant that is good at building relationships. All conversations need to feel organic. Like how we feel when a close friend or family member is trying to help us with something. Care, sincerity and unchoreographed. It's about the prospect and asking the right questions. Along with many other things, the best salespeople accomplish this.
Where we need to be careful: As I travel the country working with sales teams, it isn’t uncommon to meet salespeople that are already good at not coming off salesy in their initial meetings. When I do, they are usually naturally good at verbal interactions or have learned over time what the best approach is in connecting with prospects. They often take pride in it, as they should. But, here’s the challenge. After that great meeting, what happens next is usually more important when it comes to being consistently successful at sales. We need to be careful not to think that our great meetings are anywhere enough. So, can we have (or learn) that caring bedside manner in our meeting(s) and follow that with consistent follow-up communication, without still coming off salesy in the end? Well, we can’t succeed at our highest level without excelling at both. Learning how to succeed at both while understanding the current mindset of prospects, is the key. And when done properly, prospects will choose both our care and consistency time and time again.
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