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Daniel Pinks’ book To Sell is Human, clearly illustrates the perspective of both how the word sales is perceived and what people picture when they think of the word “sales”. The larger the word, the more respondents chose this word. In short, we are known and pictured as “Pushy Car Salesmen”. The last time I looked in the mirror this was most certainly not me. However sadly, this remains the perception of many buyers in the B2B space. Looking at this word cloud you can understand why some may choose a different path. How is this inviting? Enticing as a career path?
Well, I chose sales as a career over 20 years ago and have never looked back.This word cloud motivates me to be everything not on this list, which is easy for me, but not for all. Knowing this is the perception of our buyers and the chips are already stacked against us, how can we be more intentional, purposeful, service driven to help?
Those of us who have chosen sales as a career, what can we do to debunk some of these negative perceptions? Here are my top 3:
Lead in Service, place your prospects' priorities and goals above yours. They will feel this, and you will build trust more quickly. They will seek your support and counsel well beyond the original agreement is over.Detaching from the outcome invites them to disarm, relinquish control and open up, it’s magical.
Practice Active Listening. This came up as the #1 area of focus for B2B buyers, they are not feeling heard. Forget what brilliant comeback, feature, or testimonial you will show, as you are thinking of this you are missing the gold nuggets they are sharing. You are now part of the word cloud. I would say this can also be applied to sales leaders. When your team comes to you, put all distractions away, be present and listen. If it is not a good time, let them know and re-schedule.
Ask Thought-Provoking Questions: Many sales folks ask situational questions that are easily found on their prospect’s website. This is lazy and does not add any richness to the conversation, it is self-serving for the sales rep. Can you ask them a question that stops them in their tracks? makes them think and perhaps say, “Wow I’ve never been asked that before, give me a moment.” Bingo, this is golden. You have made them think, they are moving out of their regular world and into a world of possibility. This invites them to consider a different way, and lean something about themselves, their team, and their industry. They will remember you as the person who stretched them and made the invisible visible.
These examples are 3 of many. These 3 are timeless. In 2023 as we are inundated with noise, competing with Chat GPT how can we learn more into our human side, sell more H2H and de-bunk the negative perception of salespeople.
What else would you add to this list?
For 20 years Karen has been specializing in the art and science of sales and communication her passion and experience are helping technical sales professionals become more confident and to disrupt with value.
Her dedication to developing and delivering customized sales training programs provide her audience practical, relevant tools that can be used immediately to break down the barriers in a competitive landscape and separate themselves from the noise.
We encourage you to take the first step towards change.
There are so many areas of business out of our control, yet we continue to invest in them and hope for a different outcome. What about your people? You have control over them and their development pathway. The ability to build a positive learning culture, improve their level of confidence and increase bottom line revenue.
Invest in them. Hone their sales skills to attract your most ideal clients, gain the required commitments through discovery, engage authentically and create an enjoyable repeatable experience for your clients.
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