In the world of sales, where competition is fierce and customers are increasingly selective, finding success can be a constant challenge. While sales techniques and strategies are essential, there is one often overlooked aspect that can make all the difference: being yourself in sales. Authenticity is a powerful tool that not only builds trust and rapport with customers but also sets you apart from the crowd. In this article, we will explore why being yourself is crucial in sales and how it can lead to long-term success.
A Story on Being Yourself and Not Someone Else
A famous Major League Baseball slugger was almost washed out in his first year because he tried to be someone else. The rookie started out hitting beautifully and soon led the league. Sports writers were singing his praises. Suddenly, he went into a slump. His batting average dropped from .460 to .140. He went days without even getting a scratch single. Finally, the manager benched him. Three days later, the manager met with his coaches. He had to cut his roster and wanted their opinion. The manager had decided that the once sensational rookie should be sent down to the minors for further seasoning. One coach, a grizzled veteran, disagreed. He wanted a few days to work with the player. The manager agreed and gave the coach only three days.
The coach, who had been a great hitter in his time, took the rookie aside. He told him to take a few swings of the bat. The coach observed that the rookie cut at that ball just like Hank Aaron used to. The youngster blushed. He admitted that Hank Aaron had been his boyhood hero. All through sandlot and high school baseball, the rookie tried to pattern his swing after that of Arron. It had worked wonderfully and carried him here to the Majors. It worked here in the Big League too but only for a while, because once the pitchers figured out his weakness, he went into this slump.
“The trouble is that it really is Hank Aaron’s stance and swing. You can never quite duplicate it perfectly, and even if you could, it’s doubtful it would be exactly right for you,” the coach told the rookie. The newcomer saw the point, so for three days, he worked with the coach to develop a style of hitting that was his very own. On the fourth day, the coach told the manager he could put the rookie back in the line-up. On that day, the rookie hit two doubles and a home run out of four times at bat. The next day, he hit another home run. That season, he ended up with a .351 batting average near the top of his league.
Tips on Being Yourself in Sales
Be an Individual
Your authenticity in sales is just as important as that rookie having his own baseball swing that works for him. With more than 25 years of sales experience, here at Sales Focus, we’ve seen many salespeople fail because they tried to be somebody else — other salespeople, a sales manager, etc. It’s good to have heroes and people to look up to, but to truly be successful, you must find your own path. You can never truly emulate someone else and their success 100%. Your heroes should serve as guideposts and examples of top behaviors in selling. However, copying them will not give you what they have. Outstanding business leaders reached their positions because they are not simply faces in the crowd. Instead, they stand out.
Build Genuine Connections
Establishing genuine connections with customers is vital in sales. People appreciate honesty and sincerity, and they can quickly detect when someone is being disingenuous or putting on an act. By being yourself, you help the prospect create an immediate sense of confidence in you and find you authentic. Customers are more likely to engage with someone who is genuine and transparent, and they are more likely to form a lasting connection with you and your brand.
Build Trust and Credibility
While building genuine connections, you also build trust and credibility with your prospects. Trust is the foundation of any successful sales relationship. Customers want to know that they can rely on you to deliver on your promises and provide them with the best possible solution. Being yourself allows you to build trust organically. By staying true to your values and principles, you demonstrate integrity, which is essential in cultivating trust with your customers. Authenticity also helps you establish credibility as customers perceive you as an expert who is genuinely invested in their needs.
Stand Out from the Crowd
In a saturated market, standing out from the competition is essential. Embracing your unique personality and qualities allows you to differentiate yourself from other sales professionals who may be using similar techniques. Customers are often bombarded with sales pitches and generic approaches, but when you bring your true self to the table, you become memorable. Your authenticity becomes your competitive edge, attracting customers who value genuine interactions and making your pitch more impactful.
Adapt Your Approach
Being yourself doesn’t mean you can’t adapt your approach to different customers or situations. Authenticity is about being true to your core values and personality while also recognizing and respecting the needs and preferences of your customers. By understanding and adapting to their unique requirements, you demonstrate empathy and a genuine desire to help. This flexibility enhances your authenticity and builds stronger connections with your customers.
Create Long-Term Relationships
Successful sales professionals understand the value of long-term relationships. Repeat customers not only provide a steady revenue stream but also become advocates for your brand. When you are authentic in your interactions, customers feel a deeper connection and are more likely to become loyal supporters. By being yourself, you can foster lasting relationships based on trust, respect, and mutual understanding.
In sales, being yourself is not just a cliché; it’s a powerful strategy for success. Authenticity allows you to build genuine connections, stand out from the competition, and establish trust and credibility. By embracing your unique qualities and staying true to your values, you create an environment where customers feel comfortable and confident in their interactions with you. Remember, customers are not just buying a product or service; they are buying an experience and a relationship. Being yourself ensures that the experience they have is one that is truly authentic and memorable. So, in your next sales interaction, don’t be afraid to let your true self shine and witness the transformative impact it can have on your sales success.