Mr. Personality and Ms. Popularity are a Thing of the Past
Sales people too often put too much emphasis on the power of their own alluring personality, charisma, and product information to build relationships with their customers. Mr. Personality and Ms. Popularity are way too ego-centric to carry the day anymore in the new digital economy.
It is ultimately more rewarding and important to build trusting relationships by understanding your customer, than to build credibility by having your customer understand you, your company and your offering. "The narcissistic urge, the impulse that constantly tries to bring attention and recognition back to ourselves, may be our worst enemy in the process of building productive relationships. Without it you can't develop an emotional radar to pick up signals, read between the lines and have political smarts—the ability to recognize and observe the payoffs that will make each party feel good about the transaction at hand," says Mitch Anthony.
You cannot build an authentic relationship with your customer if you are overly attached to your product or service, or you are highly invested in how your customer receives and accepts it. Lots of problems in sales are caused by sales people who have their ego center stage. Sales people fail to make trusting relationships because their self-interest comes across so loud and clear.
Pursuit of making yourself, your product, or your company special is always at the cost of disharmony. Ironically, the more good and useful information you get from your customer, the more inclined they will ultimately trust the information you later give them. How quickly you are able to get your customer's important information (most pressing challenges) will determine how much trust you have established.
Sharing of sensitive information is a leading indicator of trust. You are the goods. You are the information. Although they do not always act like it, customers are more interested in you, in what you know about them, than what you sell; assuming they trust you and value your insight.
Sales people frequently are too ego-centric, solution-centric and treat their product as if it were a means to an end. Product information as a tool should be used to help build relationships and trust by learning about your customer's business. Your added-value lies not in your product, service or solution, but in your relationship. "Customers who really trust you buy the relationship first and foremost, and pay for it with your product and service," says Jeff Thull.
Power struggles in sales occur between egos who treat one another as non-equals. Struggle, posturing and manipulation will not be fostered until both seller and customer feel equal. So long as you predominately operate out of your ego, you will continue to be vulnerable in engaging your customer's ego, which so often results in strained communication.
Any form of expectations when used in selling is a subtle form of attack and disempowerment of your customer. One's overly involved need for approval from customers is so often a clever ruse for one's need for self-approval. It is very ego-centered. Need for approval is not an attractive trait to build trusting relationships.
The more inclined sales people are to feel special and important, the more they risk making customers feel less important and less special. The good news is no one is more worthy or special than us. The bad news is no one is less worthy or special than us. That can be very difficult for some sales people's ego who only feel special when someone else feels less special.
This is all made worse by the new generation of sellers who have an incredibly over evolved sense of entitlement and feeling special. This was created by years of rearing from helicopter parents. 20 years ago, according to research, the average person under 25 felt special by 20%. Today, in 2012 it has soared to 75%. This does not bode well for sales people who have to spend a lot of time asking questions and listening, instead of talking about their special product, special company and special solution.
When two egos are in control of a sales call and both feel entitled, the sales person invariably loses out. Curb your enthusiasm, your ego and your need to take charge, and stop prothlesizing about your special offering, and your customer will grant you more respect, cut you more slack and feel more inclined to trust you.