Authenticity in the Sales Process
Be comfortable with yourself and customers will be comfortable with you.
|Photo credit: ©istockphoto.com/Valerie Loiseleux|
With all the time I spend on the road coaching and training technicians, I’m always impressed by the quality of people with whom I work. As I interact with these wonderful frontline people with huge hearts and the desire to succeed, it always reminds me about the power of one significant aspect of the sales process: authenticity.
Selling technicians often arrive at our training classes expecting us to beat them down, tell them where they’re wrong, why they should be making more money for their owners and ultimately attempt to turn them into company robots with zero personality. Sound familiar to anyone? I see this behavior much too frequently.
Trying to turn techs into company robots void of personality would not be beneficial to the business. After training thousands of technicians over the last decade, if I’ve learned one key concept in service sales, it’s that our selling technicians need to be genuine!
If we’re attempting to sell anything to anybody, we must be authentic with our approach. We must be authentic with our intent. We must be authentic with our beliefs about what we’re doing and the conversations we’re having, otherwise a breakdown is certain to occur.
If a breakdown occurs at any level or any point in the process, the relationship is compromised and no sale is made. This is true regardless of what you’re selling. It might be a technician offering a water heater, new heating system or panel upgrade. It could be a company meeting where we’re “selling” our own staff on a process or procedure we’d like to implement. Either way, no matter how you slice it or what you want to call it, it’s still selling. Authenticity is a crucial component of the process and it’s not something to shy away from.
I pay a great deal of attention to authenticity and how it affects the sales process. I absolutely know that the more authentic I am with my coaching, training, clients and the schools I teach, the better the chance that my recommended strategies will be implemented. If people can’t relate to me, they will have a hard time “buying into” my powerful concepts, even though the tactics would positively impact their business.
What does authenticity mean to you? How important is it to you, personally? How is it affecting the level of influence you maintain in your company?
Let Your True Self Emerge
The dictionary uses words such as trustworthy and genuine when defining authenticity. In reality, I don’t care what the dictionary says, but I do care what you think and say about the concept itself. Authenticity is about communicating more of who you truly are, and letting the real you shine through. This is how I view authenticity. When you get your ego and fear out of the way, you can let your true self emerge, just as I train your technicians to do.
This might seem like a crazy topic for selling technicians, but they are actually very receptive to the concept. In order to help them understand the value in being authentic, we first help them build personal confidence. Then we demonstrate how utilizing authenticity with the customer benefits the techs throughout the sales process.
There are three major keys to being authentic in the sales process:
- Be yourself. We each have a vast array of relationships and people we interact with in our lives every day. For some reason when we enter into a formal sales process, we tend to morph into someone who we’re really not. When you can be yourself and remain comfortable in your own skin, customers will connect with you on a much better level.
- Be honest. Your word needs to be impeccable. It represents who you are. This is the reason some technicians sell a lot of certain products and services, and less of others. It’s the comfort zone of believing in who you are, what you do and the product or service you are selling. Be honest with yourself about your process and always be honest with your customers about every aspect of their situation.
- Be more aware. As we become increasingly aware of what’s going on around us, we can start to make adjustments within ourselves and with our process in order to remain authentic in our approach. Too many people go through their day with blinders on and never see what’s truly happening around them.
Authenticity drives the ability to relate to others. One of the reasons my training and coaching schedule is so full is because technicians can really relate to me. Even though I’m an owner, I’m able to be real with them. This helps them open up and become willing to listen and implement what I’m asking them to do. We are living in a world filled with fakeness and sameness. In order to stand out to a customer or one of your team members, you must be someone that others can relate to.
Just because you’re the owner or manager doesn’t make you any more special than a frontline technician. We need to remember this in our training. Don’t talk down to him because he’s “just another technician.” Work on being a little more authentic in your own company meetings. In private coaching sessions, open up a bit and share something that happened to you when you were in the field, even if it’s slightly embarrassing.
Last and certainly not least, have some fun! Sometimes I’ll see managers who don’t crack a smile all day, then we’ll go to dinner in the evening and these same guys are a hoot! They’re making jokes, laughing and having a great time. Why not bring some of that personality to the office and to your customers? We spend way too many hours at the office or in the field to not have fun.
As you work on having more fun in your business, encourage your frontline people to be authentic and let the positive aspects of their personalities shine during customer interactions. Incorporate a new level of personal authenticity into your meetings and leadership style, and see how far it takes you!