Tuesday, 1 September 2015

5 key actions of Selling Authenticity LIVING your real deal

  "Narrative' is passé, Authenticity is the new currency." 

Authentic process: In UK Politics the main opposition party-The Labour Party has a Leadership campaign that has self imposed a crisis in the vetting process of voters.  Registered and affiliated voters it seems, are now to be examined for authenticity. The twitter hash tag #LabourPurge has been doing the rounds. Inauthentic applications have been revoked if their “values have not matched the values of the Labour party”.  

Authentic  security claims of Internet has also featured in the virtual world of Internet dating on two counts. Firstly the much stressed promise of privacy and security of Ashton Madison  was subjected to by a hack making 36 million email addresses available, and sensitive data such as credit card numbers.  Secondly it has been revealed that 36% of the email addresses were FAKE which has done little for the quality of the Ashton Madison Offering.

Authentic performance from the world of Sport following the Sunday Times exposé
 of suspicious blood measurement from many athletes in track and field much as the scandals in Cycling. 
The earning of a reputation, of personal authenticity is a daily challenge to sales and marketing people in trustworthiness in
  • commercial and client confidentiality,  
  • their sales performance, ( not just sales number but activity)
  • and  the claims of their offer.

 Of course it is not only the sales’ side whose authenticity is questioned. Authentic buying is similarly challenged. 
It is not unknown for a ‘influencer’ to put on a 'big time act'  as if the final decision rests with them , or to claim they can afford something when they don’t have the final authority to do so  or the budget oversight .

In our work to build up our authenticity it is helpful to first examine the word. A dictionary definition of Authentic  goes as follows:    of undisputed origin and not a copy; genuine

synonyms :genuine, original, real, actual, pukka, bona fide, true, veritable; sterling; attested, undisputed, rightful, legitimate, lawful, legal, valid;

 informal expressions : the real McCoy, the genuine article, the real thing, your actual, kosher, honest-to-goodness; 

How would your clients,your boss and your company measure your ability to authentically sell with a client serving approach, while influencing effectively without manipulating?

Here are some aspects, qualities they might look for the authentic sell
  • Your capability and true intention
  • Your approach to focused  and genuine enquiry
  • Your collaborative crafting of your offering
  • That you are the 'real deal'
  • That you actions are truly client oriented
  • That you use authentic approaches
  • That you are constantly developing, adapting and improving your influence and persuasion skills
  • Tat you say no to manipulation
 An Authentic Client Serving Approach to Sales is not 'new' - see Baltazar Gracian and the virtues of the courtier. Balthazar Gracian and virtues of the courtier

The maxims should be well known to us but doing them is the challenge!

1.    Concentrate on your buyers' success and not your own.- Be Buyer oriented
2.    Let the client tell their story before you tell your story. -  Shut up,listen and pause
3.    When the client tells their story, forget about instant fixes, get to fully understand it.
 4.    Listen with patience and interest .Avoid arguing and lecturing your client.
5.    Find out the relevant circumstances  concerns, consequences and conclusions that your buyers are seeking.

Know your authentic  ABCU
 Move from conventional  'always be closing' to being always be commercially useful 

 An authentic sales conversation involves you asking questions.

 As you listen to your client responding to the questions you ask, your brain will give you ideas about how you might help. In a typical conversation, you’d probably offer these ideas as they occurred to you. In an authentic sales conversation with your client,  don’t blurt out your ideas as they occur to you. Wait and "stay in the question."

 Once you put your idea out there, it’s hard not to defend it which not a persuasive way to start  a productive sales conversation. Ideas arising after you have deeply understood the client’s situation, are likely to be better than those you have as instant knee jerk reactions.
Traditionally selling  has focused on the individual drivers of success: passion, hard work, talent, and luck.

Today,  authentic sales success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others.

Are you a T , an M or a G?

 Most salespeople operate as either a. takers, b. matchers, or c. givers

 Whereas takers strive to get as much as possible from others and matchers aim to trade evenly, givers are the rare breed of salespeople who contribute to others without expecting immediately anything in return."
Giving styles have a surprising impact on success. Although some givers get exploited and even burn out, most achieve extraordinary results across a wide range of markets.

Here are 5 steps to bring out your inner Giver
a. Learn to research and source buyers who are likely to have the problems you can solve 
b. Learn to effectively message (aka, talk about) the value you bring to buyers, which includes your problem-solving approach and willingness to explore their situation and share your insight and experiences, including what others in similar situations are doing to address the issues they face. Done well, this should get you more meetings.

3. When in a meeting, focus on the buyer – their situation, story, challenges, opportunities, impacts of not acting and outcomes for taking the right action. In a perfect-world, it’s better to do this completely independently of your solution, at first.

4. Go in with beyond Google plus info:-

With impatient buyers who have researched their options well before talking to you .So if you’re not creating your own opportunity with a proactive approach, it’s more difficult sometimes that it should be, to conduct a deep discovery, drilling down to your client's real needs wants attitudes feelings and opinions etc.

 In those cases, bring data, insights, experiences and outcomes into your interaction as needed, to earn the right to have the deeper dialogue.

5. When it’s time to discuss solutions, personalise them based on the buyer’s situation and both their business needs and personal motivators.

At every point in the process, abstain from manipulative tricks 
Be authentic.
Be transparent.
Be willing to walk away, especially if you can’t really help (although perhaps you can refer someone who can).

Think from the Buyer's view

 In the Buyer's world, it’s rare to find a solution that is absolutely perfect in every way. 

Buyers often need to compare solutions that are close, but each competitive offer may do something the other doesn't. or perhaps the services seem similar but there is a value-add with one who also charges more. 

There are dozens of mismatch possibilities, but  buyers make compromises on what they want and are often forced to select between multiple good options. 

Professional buying isn't any easier than Professional selling.

In these situations, do you know what often makes the difference? 

Yep… it’s you ! 

And yes, to be clear, this “you” includes your colleagues in your company who have interacted with the buyer, too, but a great deal of it is you. When all else is equal, the experience the buyer has with you, your approach, your relationship, their trust in you and your company/solution… they matter a great deal. This includes your (above-board, principle-centred) ability to establish authentic credibility, develop relationships, influence, persuade and negotiate.

Next Actions and related links
  1. What’s your mindset about your buyers and selling to them? 
  2. What are your skill levels for selling, problem-solving, influencing, persuading, and negotiating without manipulation?  Take this sales knowledge and skills audit
  3. Where you can improve the most?
  4. How can you bridge the gap between your knowledge and field practise ?
  5. For those in your company who interact with your clients and prospective clients… how well do they do the above? Selling skills for non sales
  6.  How can you (and your colleagues, manager, and sales support team) raise everyone’s level this year?  Add this blog to your favourites
There are now over 650 selling skills related posts on this blog site. Use the Google search box  on the right hand side of the opening page to find what you need


  1. Fantastic post - Great explainations and thinking.I'm looking forward to what you have for us next..!

    1. Thank you so much glad you found it helpful