What if Sales People Were Human all Along?

Sales, at its core, is a human experience. The basic truth is that people buy from people they know, people they like and people they trust. This is why it is more important than ever to humanize sales conversations as we wade through the current COVID-19 crisis; It’s the right thing to do. It’s the smart thing to do. And at this moment, it’s the only thing to do.

We’re witnessing unprecedented change as we collectively respond to this global pandemic – a forced transformation that has infected all areas of modern life. Nearly everyone and every business is feeling the effects, to be blunt: everything has changed – except the part where we are all human. Through all of this, we’re seeing an unparalleled blurring of an important line – the professional and personal line. As we are being socially distanced, our emotional connections have been drawn closer.

The takeaway

Empathy in sales is nothing new, but it is more important now than ever

Today more than ever, you’re seeing your client in a more personal light, and the reality is, they’re seeing you through a new lens as well. This is hard for everyone, nobody wants ‘fake’ in this time of crisis. So don’t be. Nobody wants tone-deaf in this time of crisis. What people want is you to be present, empathetic and human. Humanizing IS selling.

Humanization of the sale: Three rapidly changing areas/trends 

Video Conferencing – getting to know you: 

Operating out of a home is one thing. Broadcasting that to your audience at all times is another thing entirely. As video conferencing has become the expected vehicle of conversation, the lines between work and home are blurring. We’ve virtually crossed the threshold into people’s homes – the weatherman, your insurance agent, and your clients’ homes, and coming away with a more human version of that person. Not only do you see their personal domain, you are often treated to sounds, and sometimes, sights of their family. Random child appearances, family pet photo-bombs and any number of sirens, cries and flushes in between. Discussion of the family picture on the wall or the taxidermy menagerie just out of focus has become the new small talk and water cooler conversation. 

Then there is personal appearance, there is a growing trend towards more casual, relaxed attire This is partially born out of being home, not in a formal setting like the office. But additionally, and I’d argue, more importantly, there is a stronger sense of being in a collective crisis together, and what you’re wearing matters less in the grand scheme of things. It’s ok to let your guard down a bit and be more informal, be normal, you’re human. 

Work-life balance, what is that now? They’ve become one in the same and video conferencing from home is one large driver. All of this has created a more personal and human connection, despite being remote. 

Vulnerable Social Behavior – getting to like you:

People are letting their guard down. You’ve probably noticed this vulnerability trend on LinkedIn with more personal messages, more acknowledgment that there are no easy answers or quick-fixes during this crisis. The fact of the matter is, there is no script or formula for success in a global pandemic and that is OK. We are seeing a refreshing amount of people ‘getting real’ and sharing their concerns along with their true colors. But what does this mean for sales? It means that people are eager to talk right now and, if you are prepared to listen, you can gain valuable insights about how to help them – as a human. People don’t want to be sold right now; they want to be heard – and if you are helpful now, that can go a long to promoting goodwill.

Plain-Talk – earning their trust:

Along with video conferencing and relaxed business attire comes a trend toward plain-talk. People are more apt to speak freely, use direct language and generally rely less on buzzwords. There is more of a get-to-the-point with less fluff mentality. Look, we’re all wading through this storm, the last thing we want is additional big words and savvy phrases. If you want to build trust, you need to connect. If you want to connect with people as a human, you need to talk like one – no pitches, no jargon. It’s even easier to spot disingenuous messages and communication right now.

Conclusion – Empathy Before Value:

We’re all vulnerable and no one is immune to the issues we’re collectively facing. Understanding that your customer is also balancing the stress and impact of COVID19, we need to place their concerns first and empathize with them before selling the value of products. 

The trends of video conferencing, social vulnerability and plain-talk are supporting this argument. Simply put, be a human FIRST, put their needs first and that is what will foster a stronger relationship. Good human, goodwill. Remember, people buy from people they know, people they like and people they trust. Here is your opportunity to build that house of trust. And real relationships.

Today more than ever, you’re seeing your client in a more personal light, and the reality is, they’re seeing you through a new lens as well. This is hard for everyone, nobody wants ‘fake’ in this time of crisis. So don’t be. Nobody wants tone-deaf in this time of crisis. What people want is you to be present, empathetic and human. Humanizing IS selling.