Monday, September 26, 2016

The ABCs of Sales - K is for Kind

Many who write about sales lament being "nice" as a bad thing. Some sales leaders espouse that if you are too nice you cannot close sales.  There is a whole movement to train those who sell that buyers only want efficient sales people who get right to value, as they do not have time for relationships. Is there really a demise of nice sales people or is this just a contrarian way for consultants to get more business?

While I agree that sales professionals must provide clear value and respect the time of their clients and prospects, I disagree that nice is ever a negative.  We live in a world with a lot of narcissistic jerks, and many of them certainly find success in sales. The inconsiderate still win much of the time, but I have never met anyone who prefers to do business with those who are nasty and unpleasant.

Even in our busy world, people still want to do business with those they know, like, and trust.  The problem is that with our leaning toward efficiency over everything else we now assume we "know" people because we can Google them and find their profiles on social media. Getting to know someone used to be a process and along the way came "like" and "trust" (or it didn't).  Today we jump to a superficial level of knowing each other, and rarely do people get to a deeper relationship.  But is this by choice?

Sales professionals must work hard and show value quickly. But a survey by HubSpot Research shows the top words associated with sales people are pushy, biased, and aggressive. Is this how we want to be known?  Most sales managers would cringe at their team being seen in this way, but we are supporting these behaviors and teaching actions that lead us away from "kind".

Most professionals would prefer to be known as “trustworthy” and “helpful" in their selling role. I do not believe you can have this as your reputation if you are not first "kind".  A trustworthy jerk or a helpful sleazeball are not possible and certainly not the way to a sustainable career.

Over a lifetime in sales you will have more success if you are compassionate, thoughtful and gracious.  Do not fall prey to those who think the human connection no longer matters.  The prediction of the death of nice sales people is greatly exaggerated.

Kindness never goes out of style.

Have A Great Day

thom singer


Thom Singer is a keynote speaker and professional master of ceremonies.  He talks regularly to corporate audiences in competitive industries that are sales focused and whose people are seeking greater success.

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