If They Do Not Trust You, You Have Very Little to Sell
Conventional sales people are very personal with customers on a social level. Yet, they are extremely impersonal with customers when it comes to really understanding their unique vantage point on their most pressing challenges. Having a nice way with people is no longer a door opener in sales the way it used to be.
Gregarious and outgoing, orthodox sales people insinuate themselves with forced camaraderie. With an inexhaustible smile, cheerfulness and a sunny disposition they create a false bond. They try to be the equivalent of a professional caregiver who makes themselves indispensable to customers so they can be well-liked. This is co-dependent behavior. It will often breed resentment and backfire.
It has been said in business that it is better to be liked than loved. I would go one step further. It is better to be respected than popular. Common fraternizing is an aggressive friendliness that just comes across as forced nepotism so often. At least the way most mainstream sellers execute it.
Customers see through sales tactics that try to get them to like sales people so they can be objects to sell. In many cases customers look at conventional sales people as a necessary evil. Despite being considered to have undesirable qualities, their presence is only preferable to its absence.
Another negative side of personality sellers is their midas touch can be very suffocating, manipulative and controlling. Their friendly interest comes with obvious strings attached that ultimately destroys what they work so hard to produce; close connection, credibility and trust.
Personality sellers rarely if ever share common interest, because there can be no commonality when a sales person's self-interest supersedes the self-interest of their customer.
Too many orthodox sales people invest their hopes, dreams and self-esteem in their customers. This co-dependency is not healthy for either concern. Conventional sales people are too often viewed by their customers as fair weather friends with strong obligations. As we all know, neediness is a foul smelling cologne.
Ideally, the sales person is entrusted with the responsibility to act in good faith on behalf of the customer in guiding them to their own answers. But most traditional sales people are too busy trying to consolidate their own power by unleashing a barrage of information with little chance for the customer to discern or scrutinize, resulting in them throwing out the baby with the bath water. If customers do not trust you, you essentially have very little to sell other than a pure unadulterated commodity.
Trust has somewhat replaced fraternizing in the information economy. Customers want to know their sales people, but at a deeper and more personal business level. That is assuming they trust you and value your insight. Today, it is a little less about surface connection, and more about a close, personal business connection.
"Buying companies have a limited capacity for intimacy," says Diane Woodburn. If they trust you they are more prone to invest in you. If they do not they tend to be superficial intolerant. So you have to quickly assess your customer to get a sense of their personality so you can harness it.
In the eyes of the customer you must earn the right to sell. Mainstream sales people start selling right out of the gate with the notion that trust is present. To customers it feels like sales people take trust for granted and they return the favor by taking the sales person for granted. It is very difficult to recover after this.
Conventional sales people simply lack authentic self-awareness. They are so results-oriented and company-oriented, there is little energy and empathy left for their customer, and there is no attempt to pick up clues, cues, and subtle nuances that can make all the difference in creating trust. Sales people think they are truly need-based sellers, but in reality they cater to what they need, not what the customer's needs are.