Have you ever been completely put off by the rep on the other end of a sales call?
Maybe it was their tone, demeanor, or that they didn’t have their camera on. Maybe they seemed distracted, low energy, or disconnected from the product they were selling. Perhaps it was all these things.
The way sales reps show up matters to buyers. And in an increasingly digital and virtual world, it matters more than ever.
Research from Gartner shows that time spent with a sales rep during the sales cycle has dropped to 5-6% on average. The rest of our buyers’ time is spent conducting product research, sifting through online reviews, and devising a purchase plan on their own. With all this pointing to an extremely small window of opportunity to influence a purchase, sellers must make a rapid impact when they finally get the opportunity to connect with a buyer.
In the past, I’ve shared many tactics for connecting with buyers in an emotionally-connected way. Some examples include using empathy to get buyers to answer your toughest question, mastering the critical art of listening, connecting face-to-face, and personalizing your outreach.
Infusing personality into your sales motion is just as critical!
This means showing up authentically as yourself, a human being, in a way that transcends the business conversation. Of course, I’m not suggesting you kick off your cold calls by sharing your weekend plans or political views with your prospects. But things like showcasing your quirkiness, your charming sense of humor, your knowledge of psychology or home cooking, your office background, or a whimsical story about your kids or pet, are scientifically proven to enhance your sales performance.
There are two main reasons for this:
1. Open self-expression improves confidence, and confidence sells! Studies have shown that when someone acts confidently, it adds weight to their words. For example, researchers at Carnegie Mellon found that displaying confidence is more influential in establishing trust with buyers than domain expertise and past performance.
2. People buy from humans, not robots, and humans aren’t perfect. Social psychologists Elliot Aronson, Ben Willerman, and Joanne Floyd conducted a study focused on interpersonal attractiveness. The purpose of the study was to determine the effect that making mistakes (or ‘clumsy blunders’) had on likeability. Results showed that people thought to be competent, who then made a mistake (described as a pratfall) were found to be more likable. Conversely, those who were seen as unprepared and prone to mistakes were seen as less likable.
In the case of selling, this study exemplifies how showcasing your personality and having organic, human interactions, in addition to checking off customary discovery topics, is significantly more impactful than sticking solely to robotic notes and scripts.
If you’re looking for some simple and easy-to-implement ways of infusing personality into your sales motion, here are my top 3 recommendations:
1. Ditch the virtual background
Let’s be honest, when you see someone pop up in front of a Hawaiin sunset or IKEA-style modern farmhouse kitchen, your first thought isn’t “how lovely!” but rather, “I wonder what’s actually behind them”. In other words, the virtual background creates an unnecessary distraction. Not to mention they may end up focusing more on the background and the visual glitches than the words you are saying. Instead use Zoom calls as a way to humanize yourself and give buyers a sneak peek into your space, even if you’re sitting in front of a white wall or shower curtain. Your environment adds to your humanity, making you a lot more approachable, likable and engaging. Maybe you have their favorite musical instrument on the floor behind you or a book on your shelf they also loved. You never know!
Side note: I can’t tell you the number of people that ask me about my home studio setup, how I do my fancy camera tricks, or how I get my logo to appear in the corner of my video feed! In fact, so many people asked that I did an entire training session on it. You can check out the recording in this post.
2. Dress for success AND dress to be YOU
Even seemingly small but personal effects like a patterned shirt, an interesting logo, or a meaningful piece of jewelry adds an element of personal intrigue to you as a seller. It may come up in conversation or it may not. Either way, the buyer can see you have a life outside of business and will respect you more for it. And it could potentially help the conversation go deeper.
3. Use personal stories to bridge the gap
If you get an opening to share something personal that would help your prospect gravitate toward you, take the risk and share your story. This will help break the ice, connect you with the buyer on a deeper level, and perhaps, add a unique value proposition to the investment. For example, sharing a relevant story about your childhood, what you studied in school, why you keep a bowling trophy on your desk, or the fact that you love spicy food and Disney movies, can all help create that personal connection.
Infusing your personality into the sales process may seem daunting, especially if you are new to the role or territory, but it can be a very powerful approach for making an indelible emotional impact on your customer quickly! So instead of worrying about mastering your solution and discovery questions, take a moment to focus on being more human – science says it will help you win faster.
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