Updated: Mar 2, 2021
There's a lot more to selling than making quota every month. Making your numbers is important, but sales success will come easier when you stop playing salesperson all the time in favor of being a real person.
Salespeople are hyper-focused on closing the deal.
Real people are genuinely interested in prospects and customers and are constantly showing interest in matters not related to sales
Salespeople are all business. They don't share much about their personal lives and rarely inquire about the customer's family members, hobbies and favorite charities.
Real people spend a lot of time learning about the customer's family and what's important to them. Real people know the names of their customers' spouses, partners and children and even learn about chess, gardening and Rotary--just so they can relate better to the people they serve.
Salespeople are myopic about who they spend time with and focus almost exclusively on the customer, her boss and the person in accounts receivable.
Real people build out their networks and get to know everyone from the CEO to the receptionist. They want to network "five deep" and connect with lots of different people, not just those who seem useful. When I deliver sales training, I tell sellers that if they want to be treated better, they should stop acting like salespeople and start acting like real people.
Keeping it "real"
Whenever I'm disappointed with my own sales results, it's almost always because I am pressing too hard, stressing about The Big Deal and not being a real person with my prospects.
That's when I stop to think about little Jamie Scott.
Young Jamie was trying out for a part in the school play. His mother knew that Jamie really wanted to be chosen for a role and held her breath when he came home from school the day parts were assigned.
Jamie rushed into the house, his eyes shining with pride and excitement.. "Guess what, Mom!" he shouted, "I've been chosen to clap and cheer."
The key to being a real person is taking the spotlight off yourself and making your customer the star of the show. Shift from thinking about your commission to thinking about submission. For the essence of customer service is submitting yourself to the other person.
You can, for example, stop talking as much and listen more.
Aim small, miss small
I can't tell you how many deals I've closed by paying attention to "the little things." Denzel Washington's newest movie, The Little Things, is about a nearly retired law enforcement officer who takes pride in his attention to details.
It's a good lesson for all of us.