Human Connection Is Irreplaceable

  • Dress appropriately for the situation and audience— it’s the little things that close the sale.
  • Do research on who you’re trying to sell to and a personalized follow-up email after a demo or meeting that adds value to the conversation. Video messages following a meeting are a unique way to stay in front of your prospect and show them you truly care about helping them solve their business challenges.
  • Use handwritten notes to show appreciation and make your communication more human. Taking the time to write a note to your prospect demonstrates your commitment to professionalism and helps built trust.
  • Taking a personalized and phone first sales approach still matters, especially in a world taken over by AI.
  • Leverage checklists to remember and systematize important tasks. Even surgeons and pilots use checklists to make sure that details don’t fall through the cracks.
  • Sales is a contact sport. Leaders should train, drill, and reinforce the basics and fundamentals with their sales team every single day.

On this episode of the Sales Gravy podcast, Jeb Blount and Will Yarbrough, VP of Sales at Fleetio, discuss what it means to be a human seller in the age of robots.

Jeb and Will dive into the importance of having organic conversations versus over-engineering the sales process. In this conversation, you’ll learn the value of a good first impression, how to maintain engagement with a prospect following a demo, and why being coachable is a strength in sales.

Selling In A Tough Industry Takes Grit— And Emotional Intelligence

Industry experience— especially when selling to blue-collar workers out in the field who are more accustomed to turning wrenches than punching buttons on an app — can be a strength or a weakness for new sales professionals.

Most sales organizations seek individuals who are good communicators, curious, and confident, but also have enough industry knowledge to be credible.

And while industry knowledge is important is sales, the ability to deal with people is crucial.

People with industry experience tend to want everything to be perfect before they can close a deal. As a result, they may take longer to ramp up in a sales organization than those without as much experience, but they can still be taught the right questions to ask.

New sales professionals who don’t have much industry experience will be successful if they know how to ask the right questions, find opportunities for ROI, and learn how to close deals in the process.

Taking a more human approach to selling means that experience pales in comparison to the importance of heart and mindset.

The Sales Process Is Overcomplicated

Too many sales organizations are guilty of over-engineering the selling process. The most important thing to remember is that you’re a human being having a conversation with another human being. Here are a few ways to simplify the sales process (that don’t require the help of a robot).

Professionalism Builds Trust

Buying is an emotional and deeply human experience. In order to close sales and maintain positive customer relationships, you need to keep in mind that prospects buy the person before they buy the product.

The little things matter. It’s not about the outcome, but the steps that you take to get to that outcome.

So if you choose not to wear a collared shirt on virtual calls, you put on a hat, decide not to shave, or don’t take care in making sure your video presence and audio quality are top-notch, you are taking a series of small risks.

And those risks can greatly impact the velocity of the sale, getting the sale, or the trust that you build with your prospect.

Present yourself in a professional manner, including your appearance, lighting, audio, and video quality. These details may seem small, but they can have a big impact on the trust and velocity of the sale. Remember, the little things matter.

The Humble Checklist

Pilots and brain surgeons implement a checklist for every task they must perform. They aren’t stupid; they have a lot to remember and many high-stakes elements that can slip through the cracks.

Utilizing a checklist throughout the sales process can make it easier to remember and execute on important tasks, something that busy sales professionals often struggle to do.

When you refer to a checklist every time you engage with a prospect, you’re more likely to remember and complete each necessary task to help you advance the sale.

Personalization Over Systems

One of the most effortless and foolproof ways to make a lasting impression with your prospect and create competitive differentiation is by sending a handwritten note or a personal video message thanking your prospect for their time after your meeting.

It’s a small, but essential gesture that makes a difference. The best part is, you don’t need a system to write a note. Simply make it a habit to write and send a note right after conversations with your prospects.

It’s a simple way to show gratitude that they will notice, appreciate, and remember.

Remember To Engage In Real Conversation

Especially in the world of data and systems, the human element of selling can get lost. Every sales team these days has five or more systems in their tech stack to support sales acceleration.

With that comes a more robust playbook and guidance on how to sell and use those systems. However, one of the big pitfalls in modern sales is becoming too robotic.

You might think, “I have to follow this process. I’m going to ask this discovery question, and this discovery question, and this discovery question,” and forget that you’re just having a conversation with someone.

In doing so, you put undue pressure on yourself to follow the process and check every box, instead of just having a conversation like two human beings.

Asking questions like, “What is the downstream impact of missing a preventative maintenance activity?” can help humanize the experience and encourage conversation.

We lose credibility when we forget that we’re just talking to somebody and opt for asking a robotic, textbook question that should be on a form or a survey.

Don’t Be Afraid to Lead

It’s easy to take shortcuts, but investing time and effort in doing the little things right increases the chances of success.

As a leader, it’s important to remind and educate sellers about the value of the basics and fundamentals. Athletic coaches understand the importance of drilling the basics and reinforcing muscle memory.

Coaches and leaders must train, drill, and reinforce the basics and fundamentals every day because one bad habit or easy win can undo everything you teach.

Accountability and Motivation Are Key

Many leaders avoid conflict and fail to address problems because they are afraid to confront bad sales behaviors, which allows them to continue.

In the past, it was not uncommon for sales leaders to directly confront you and tell you to stop doing something that isn’t effective. They would push you to improve.

Today, some leaders lack the courage to lead sales in a more traditional way. Sales is a human endeavor that requires excellence, protection of the brand and the process, and achieving targets. It’s a survival of the fittest. You need to be good at your craft and be willing to learn from your mistakes.

Leaders must have the ability to motivate their sellers when they’re doing well, provide constructive feedback when they’re not, and offer support when they need it.

In his bestselling book, Fanatical Prospecting, Jeb Blount outlines his innovative approach to prospecting that works for real people, in the real world, with real prospects. Download your FREE chapters of Fanatical Prospecting here.

About the author

Jeb Blount

Jeb Blount is one of the most sought-after and transformative speakers in the world…

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