Today there is a whole generation of Internet and street-savvy consumers that are sick and tired of hype, false promises, fluff, schmooze and sales spin. The advent of social media, blogging and digital transparency has had a real impact on our society as to how information is spread and received. It seems that there is an emerging trend and national consciousness for people to be real, forthcoming and to tell it the way it is. At least in certain areas of communication. In my humble opinion this is going to directly impact sales people. Those who can capitalize on it will have a big competitive advantage.
"Why reality is in. Like it or not, reality television has become the new norm of pop culture. Survivor, Big Brother, MTV's the Real World, Fear Factor, American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, The Apprentice, The Biggest Loser, and dozen other similar programs have become rating superstars, each one a derivative of the original concept. The objective is eerily similar; get people to do things on camera that are unscripted, unpredictable, and that will eventually show their true colors," says Andrew Corbus. Basically the contenders reveal themselves for better or for worse to all of America; the good, the bad and the ugly. They apparently reveal their true nature and people eat it up because it appears so authentic, or they want it to be authentic. It does not matter. It is a real phenomenon.
There is a fascination for the unvarnished truth. People are for some reason fascinated with the truth of how others really are. People are fixated on the ordinary and the mundane when they are blogging and doing social media. Bloggers, I'mers and texters are talking openly without scripts about everything under the sun. All of a sudden people seem to have nothing to hide, and are into full and open disclosure, and when people are not, everyone thinks you are hiding something or are being inauthentic.
"Consumers are sick to death of being lied to, sold to and manipulated. They now want to know the true you. They want the authentic story, and they're much wiser to the tricks and empty promises of most of the advertising that's produced. In fact they're finding more and more ways to get the inside scoop about your business without your help. Behind your back. In ways that you have absolutely no control over. And consumers are in love with these new ways of communication," says Andrew Corbis.
So as consumers demand and expect more transparency and authenticity, sales people will have to be more aware of reality-based selling. Reality-based selling is fearless truth telling and fearless extraction of the customer's truth.
This approach is so refreshing because there is no hype, and it operates in a non-spin zone. Let's face it, in the information economy, the only truly competitive advantage that is sustainable, is your your ability to really be an expert at learning your customer's business and their problems, and being real and trustworthy in delivering impartial advice. This is what being real is all about. Successful sales people control the customer's buying experience better than the competition by being real, authentic, trustworthy and transparent.
"Getting real: This is a subjective term which means being authentic, being truthful, saying what we mean, being consistent with what we value. Getting real involves challenging lazy thinking and penetrating façades, games, defenses, fears and delusions. We open belief systems to examination. We get to the heart of the matter," says Randy Illig.
Customers are becoming deaf and blind to sales people's messages. "The strategy of build it and they will come no longer works. Sales people too often fall in love with their story at the exclusion of the customer's story. There's nothing original other than a truly original and real sales approach," says Bill Guertin.
Customers want to know about your offering, but more importantly, they want to know what you are really like. Customers want to be deeply engaged, assuming they trust you and value your judgment. And connecting more personally with the sales person allows them to assess your credibility and trustworthiness.
The downside of the Internet Era is customers are not engaged; they are only superficially engaged. So when they decide to go out on a limb and build a more personal relationship with a sales person, it better be real and authentic if they are going to air their dirty laundry and reveal some of their serious business problems.
"We are currently living in a communications environment where there is a trust deficit. As a society we no longer have confidence in advertising (sales people). We are hostile to those who have ulterior motives. So you have to be a trust-agent and establish yourself as a non-sales oriented, non-high pressure marketer," says Chris Brogan.