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Your Customers
Are Now Superficial Intolerant

In a world of BlackBerries, iPads, texting, Twitter and Facebook, what still matters, but is harder to do than ever, is to have meaningful face to face communication. We're all hyper-connected, yet few are truly personally connected with their customers. In a highly fractured and technical world, you have to make a superior human connection to build trust and relationships. Too many sales people settle for less and pay a severe price.

Mainstream sales people believe they're relationship sellers and very customer-centric, yet their behavior belies it. They're typically relationship sellers only under the most ideal circumstances, where personalities are properly aligned, and trust comes naturally, but doesn't have to be earned.

Recent research indicates that college graduate's empathy has declined 40% in the last 20 years due primarily to social media. If you can master empathy and social intelligence you have a huge competitive advantage over your competition in building trusting relationships, which is the cornerstone of strategic selling in the information economy.

Most customers look at sales people as little more than a paid spokesman for an infomercial, or a lobbyist for a special interest group. Sales people exacerbate this stereotype by insinuating themselves into relationships with forced camaraderie. These personality sellers get too personal in the wrong areas, and not personal enough in the right areas. They let their personality overly define their ability to build trusting relationships, instead of the value of their insight.

Fawning over customers with verve and spreading good cheer wherever you go isn't what building relationships is about. The negative side of personality sellers is their Midas touch can be suffocating, manipulative, non-authentic and a way of taking control of sales calls.

Sellers who project a personality that is bigger than life tend to put customers on alert. Customers worry about how they can cheerfully get rid of this person who may not cheerfully leave on their own reconnaissance.

Personality sellers tend to enter relationships starry-eyed and with an abundance of kindness. They're trying too hard and they end up killing their deals with kindness. Mr. and Mrs. Congeniality don't succeed in sales like they used to. Customers want substance over form. If they need friends there're plenty of them on Facebook.

Evergreen sales people with their sunny disposition often have a distorted sense of self, product and company, and have difficulty regulating emotions of highs and lows. To compensate for their overly optimistic sales strategy they try to wear down poorly qualified prospects by never going away and hence they lose any semblance of objectivity and perspective. And without these two assets they become cheerful empty suits.

Evergreen sales people have a love/hate relationship with customers, they love them when they're buying and they're frustrated like hell when they aren't. This makes for a manic sales experience that doesn't translate well for being an impartial trusted advisor.

Trust has replaced fraternizing. Customers want to know sales people a little differently today. It's a little less about a personality connection, and a lot more about a trust connection on a business level. Keep in mind one thing hasn't changed; if they don't like you, or connect with you, they won't buy from you, except in extreme cases where options are virtually nonexistent. Where's that today? Thanks Google!

Richard Farrell is President of Tangent Knowledge Systems, a national sales development and training firm based in Chicago. He is the author of the upcoming book Selling has Nothing to do with Selling. He trains and speaks around the world and has authored many articles on his unique non-selling sales posture.

Phone: 773-404-7915
EMail: rfarrell@tangentknowledge.com
Web: http://www.tangentknowledge.com