The other day I enjoyed a lovely evening by 23 Degrees sitting outside in the streets of Malaga with an old friend and ex-colleague. She opened my eyes to a missing dot/connection in the current prevailing sales training methods of SPIN/complex solution selling techniques.
She said, you know what drives me crazy? They keep on telling us in sales training, we need to gain the trust of the client. But if I ask how, they can’t give me an answer. There and then, I realized, I am guilty of this as well. I keep on talking about trust but I never really explained what it is that creates trust.
No it is not a process, or a complicated technique to follow. The answer is actually very simple.
Be your authentic self. So the client gets a feeling of WIS-F-IWIG. What I See (and feel subconsciously) is what I get. A feeling of concurrency needs to take place on all levels to create trust.

WIS-F-IWIG the main driving factor for gaining trust
Only 20% of communication is verbal and the further 80% of communication is non-verbal, mainly received and felt subconsciously. This means if the client gets told something verbally that is not concurrent with what he/she receives subconsciously, a “nagging feeling” will set in making him/her feel something is off. The client may not be even able to grasp consciously why, but he/she will close up and stop most likely the engagement. I believe, 9 out of 10 times, when a client uses price as an excuse, the sales person just failed “horrifically” to set up a trust relationship. As a matter of fact, the factor price has just become an excuse to get rid of the sales person, as the client’s professionalism hinders him/her from stating: Sorry, but I have a nagging feeling something is not right with you.

Authenticity:
In simple terms it means: to be concurrent with ones emotions, thoughts and the spoken word. No matter what this may be. However, this requires a deep awareness of the underlying values and believes driving a human’s behavior patterns. This is also the crux of the matter. Most fail to be authentic, because they have no idea what drives them and even less what makes them to who they are and how their “whole” persona projects to the outside world (blind spots)

Why is being authentic so difficult?
I think we can split it into three main issues being in the way of authenticity.

  1. Emotions are bad: Our society, especially business, demands from us to be “rational”. Emotions are not rational. Therefore, we deny the existence of emotions. Even so the human being, by default is an emotional being. The brain itself stores any information and experience as an emotion. Most buying decisions, given quality is equal, are made based on emotions. The whole cosmetic and fashion industry is based around emotional selling. The need to be beautiful. However in most other industries, especially in the more technical fields, I keep on seeing rational sales techniques (the product and features sales person) who will lose almost each single time the sales to a competitor, who has managed to gain the client’s trust.
  2. Social Conditioning: Being taught to hide emotions and not to feel them, right from childhood on, through our schooling system and then into the job, we have buried our own emotions so deeply that we have no idea anymore what really drive us. All we can feel is something lacking, an underlying uneasiness, a background noise, but we cannot pin point it anymore. But trust me, the client feels this underlying uneasiness and will interpret it as: something is not quite right.
  3. Fear of rejection=death: the human is a social “animal”. Being a part of something and belonging is one of the main driving factors. Not surprising, if you think that in the stone ages, being alone in the wild, not belonging to a group of others meant pretty much ones death. Nowadays we may not be killed by a wild animal but be rejected and thrown out by our bosses/co-workers if we do not fit into the prevailing cooperate norm. Creating the same basic feeling as the fear to be killed if we do not “bend” to the cooperate-and social norms. So most will stay in line out of fear. Some their life long. However, the best they ever can achieve is mediocrity. The never will be highly successful. Especially not in sales. As the client can literally “smell the fear” of the sales person. A client will either stop engaging at this “smell”. Or the “consciously” switched on client, will use this fear for his/her own gain by starting a price war, till he/she has squeezed every last penny out of the sales person’s margin.

What now?
If you want to become authentic and highly successful, by being aware of who you really are, what your values and believes are that drive your behavior patterns, and change them if the hinder you to be the successful, visit our unlock our full sales potential retreats.  For sales organizations, contact me to set up a customized training for you.

IUSP Martina Willis: Or why a training with Martina
I have spent the last 20 years in different roles, always with direct or indirect sales-and budget responsibility, (product manager, strategic technology consulting, business development, technical-and sales team coaching, CTO and CEO positions) in large to small enterprises. In those 20 years I always overachieved my/the teams target. When I have seen the prevailing political notions in an organization or department make success impossible, and I was powerless to change them, I left the sinking ship. So far without failing, all of them sank based on my prediction. But I never sold my authenticity or bend my values because a superior demanded it of me. Knowing if I cannot be authentic anymore, I am set up to fail anyway. The last one who demanded of me to sell my authenticity was just scrutinized in the Swiss press.
Furthermore, I have worked in very diverse fields, such as Saudi Arabia. Where trust is the basis of any business, I managed to gain the trust of Executives and do great business and this against all odds of being a female. Becoming even the trade ambassador for the UK to Saudi Arabia.
Clients, especially male clients, tell me their most personal, intimate secrets, even when I only was trying to sell them an IT solution.

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