Last week I had a fantastic conversation with a professor who teaches sales and marketing on the university level. We discussed perception vs. reality in sales within our world which is full of real and wishful “influencers.”
Bottom line is influencers talk at their audience, as that is their deal, they influence. In the world of sales however influencing isn’t a long term plan, especially in business to business sales which was the topic of our discussion.
Sales is relational, unless you are operating with a ‘one and done’ attitude-big, but temporary gains. Building a business requires engaging with people and listening to their needs, challenges, etc. Like the saying goes, “people don’t care what you know, until they know that you care.” Sales is about listening and shining the spotlight on the customer not yourself. Most of us are already burned out on the barrage of social media showing us the greatness of others so hearing it from someone that wants you to give them money too isn’t an incentive to buy.
If you’ve ever networked you more often than not get the mini version of the difference between sales and attempted influencing. It is the reason many of us dial our networking back to the level of infrequent. Talking at me, pushing your product in my face and space while telling me your story doesn’t engage me, and rarely interests/engages others. A sale via that approach isn’t relational, it is more in the realm of ‘I’ll buy it if you please go away,’ a one and done exchange.
The professor I spoke with summed it up nicely explaining introverts are often the best sales people due to being good listeners. As an introvert I’m biased to believe his statement as gospel; however it does make sense as we reside in environments that often demand we focus outside of ourselves, as well as compare ourselves through media, social and otherwise. Selling is optimized when engagement is the priority. Selling is sustainable when the customer has an opportunity to feel accommodated.