When sales go virtual, sellers who can be authentic will have an immidiate competetive advantage. But what does authenticity in sales really mean?
“To be successful, be real”. That was one of the headlines of a recent Forbes Council article, and though it may not exactly be that simple it does point to a super important point. Authenticity does have an important role to play in sales, and especially so when we’re selling from a distance. When we need to bridge that distance and build trust in the virtual room. So, how can we actually be authentic throughout the sales process, and apply this to every customer interaction?
Well, being authentic simply means to be real, and so being authentic in the sales process means that you should be real in the interactions with your customer. Where the Forbes article gave an example of how to apply this authenticity; this real-ness to virtual sales. Namely to “move beyond the perfectly engineered bookshelf”, and add a piece of who you are to the digital meeting. Which, for example, can be to have a token of your interests in the background during virtual customer meetings. I.e. if you would be a football fan, you may have a football on display in the bookshelf behind you, and if you’re interested in art you may hang a cool painting with a story on the wall. The key thing, of course, being that the personal aspect you’re introducing to the professional meeting is real and honest, and suited to be displayed.
In addition, it will be important to move beyond the mere superficial, and to also be authentic in your interactions. In other words, you should be genuinly curious about the customer and their challenges, and really listen and emphatize with what you hear. Real, honest empathy and curiosity shines through, which will make for a stronger relation with the customer and nurture the trust that is vital throughout the sales process. Something that, in turn, can be an incredible competetive advantage, when sales are primarily done virtually and it can be more challenging to build a mutual sense of trust.
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