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Sales Is Like Dating: You Can’t Trick Someone Into Liking You

November 8, 2016

Vague introductory language like “I was doing some research on your company…” Auto-dialers. Calling from a “local” area code. Calling before 8:00 a.m. or after 5:00 p.m. Requests to participate in “a survey.” These are just a few of the most widely used tricks B2B sales teams have implemented over the years in attempts to engage customers. The thing is, though, sales is like dating: you can’t trick someone into liking you. These tricks do the exact opposite of what you would expect. Instead of engaging, customers react negatively and it hurts your reputation and the company’s brand. And in the rare instance that they do work in landing a meeting, a relationship that starts with a trick is not primed for long-term success and mutual benefit.

Yet understandably, the demand for sales acceleration isn’t going away. And nor should it. Sales acceleration is a good thing. It just shouldn’t rely on tricks anymore.

Proponents of sales accelerations tricks will point to how they save time and, therefore, money. That’s a fair point but is the cost in quality worth it? Unlikely.

Can we achieve both quality and quantity of customer engagement? We need to be showing up in more places (quantity) but it must resonate with the buyer and in the way they want to engage (quality).

It Starts with Teaching Something New

We need to create a spark with the customer almost immediately. This requires teaching them something new and original about their business. This can be very difficult for a sales rep to do on the phone call or in an email. But the digital world gives us just about everything we need to successfully engage with prospects. Remember, nine out of 10 are not ready to buy when you first connect with them but you can develop them in a real and authentic way.

Next: Communicate Authentically

When a prospect hears or reads a phrase like “I was doing some research on your company…” they almost always roll their eyes. Really!?!? You were doing research on my company and my company alone?!?! I’m so flattered! Instead of spouting irrelevant “insights,” ask questions that tap into a customer’s curiosity. Example: “We just published this case study of a company in your space. Curious what you think of it.”

Really, B2B sales professionals should just be themselves. There’s a difference between trying to be authentic and actually being authentic. Unfortunately, there’s no magic solution to this. (Although, sales managers, you can get better at hiring for this. Use the beer test. Would you have a drink with a potential hire? Better yet, go out and do it.)

Rethink Your Method of Engagement

If you were to poll your prospects and ask them whether or not they love a bloated inbox full of emails and voicemail system full of long-winded messages, there’s a good chance you’d hear a resounding “Oh dear God, no.” Now more than ever, the sales cycle is dictated by the buyer’s process. Once you recognize that the customer is in control you’ll be liberated to fit their needs versus forcing what you need them to want. Create a journey for your prospects that relies on communication platforms that align with their behaviors, habits and preferences. (Shameless plug here: that’s exactly what our Smart Rooms do. Moreover, Smart Rooms show engagement data so your sales reps can further refine and personalize a customer journey.)

If you recognize that your customer is smart and savvy it’s time to create better, more personalized context, communicate like a normal human being, and rethink how you engage. That’s how you’ll achieve that quantity-quality sweet spot without having to rely on tired tricks.

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