There are a lot of sales people who fake being truly real. Sure they say the right things and appear to do some of the right stuff, yet something is missing. And what is missing is authenticity in sales.
Looking up the origins of the root word of authentic, one learns its origins are French, Greek and Latin. The word initially meant “perpetrator, master.” Contemporary definitions include authoritative, trustworthy and genuine.
Two Critical Elements of Authenticity in Sales
First, what is not mentioned and yet very much part of this word is the motivation behind the individual salesperson. If the motivation is E squared (Economics and Ego), then the authenticity is a facade. However, when the motivation is a combination of knowledge, independence and leadership (returning to the contemporary definitions), then there is far greater likelihood the person is authentic.
The second critical element is positive core values. In sales, people buy from people they know and trust. Those who engage in the wink and the nod behaviors, who are less than trustworthy because of the E squared motivation, who rationalize “everyone else does it” lack positive core values. Today more than ever before because of all the unauthentic salespeople, your word is your bond.
Yesterday, I reconnected with a client who wanted to share with me a significant accomplishment. She and I had worked together several years ago to build a strong strategic foundation for her insurance practice. Her practice was doing well with the usual ups and downs. Now she was getting back on track and outreached to me about being her executive coach.
What I asked her to do was to engage in some self-reflection because this executive coaching process was 6 to 12 months and she still lacked some clarity as to what results she wanted from executive coaching. As we were walking to our cars, I apologized for what is appear to be putting her off because I did not “set the appointment” to begin. She looked at me somewhat surprised and said “No you are exactly right, I need to gain some more internal clarity before I begin.” Then she continued with “This is why I reached out to you because you are authentic and will not lead me down the wrong path.”
Two Sales and Leadership Axioms
Authenticity in sales is a secret weapon because it is lacking especially during the fourth quarter when everyone is desperate to make quarterly and annual sales goals. If you wish to increase sales, then engage in some self-reflection. Determine if your E squared motivation is your primary motivational driver and is that negatively affecting your desired end results including your reputation. Remember these two sales axioms:
- People buy from people they know and trust.
- No one cares who much you know until they know how much you care. (Theodore Roosevelt)