Salespeople need a particular set of skills to be successful and one of those skills is vulnerability, despite many people’s view that sales people need to be confident and outgoing.
The Importance of Vulnerability in Sales
In sales, it’s important to take stock of and innovate your sales techniques when the opportunities arise. We’re humans selling to humans and one element of being human is being vulnerable.
So, what does it mean to be vulnerable in sales?
It means that you have the confidence to recognise that something is scary, but do it anyway. To be vulnerable on a sales call, you need to show up authentically in your actions, whether you’re on a cold call, running a sales meeting, or conducting a training session for your reps.
Whatever you’re doing, to be vulnerable means you show up authentically and are genuine and honest in your approach.
However, you might be wondering, “Why would I want to be vulnerable in a sales meeting?” If you’re vulnerable, inevitably you’re going to try something new. It allows us to close bigger deals and advance deals in ways we never thought possible.
Additionally, being vulnerable will give you more opportunities to ask for the things that you want.
On the management side, it’s important to be vulnerable in front of your team so you allow them to try something new.
As a manager you need to live and breathe vulnerability, or your team will call you out on it.
One way to demonstrate and coach vulnerability at the same time is to do round-robin cold calling. For this activity, you can pull your team together in a conference room and conduct cold calls together…. including you, the manager.
While this might feel scary, it can help your team bond because you’ll all know you’re going to mess up, but you can have a good laugh and practice being vulnerable together.
After all, the best teacher of sales skills is experience. That’s why coaching vulnerability is all about letting your team practice and talking about the anxiety you might be feeling.
Vulnerability ultimately starts with the diversity and culture of your team. With a diverse team, your employees will be able to learn more from each other because of the range of experiences, skills, and even vernacular.
How To Be Vulnerable In Sales
1. Get on the phone.
In the sales industry, it’s known that cold calling is a great way to engage with a potential prospect. However, it’s also one of the most vulnerable things a sales person can do. Picking up the phone as often as possible is one way to display vulnerability through your actions.
While you shouldn’t script yourself, an example of expressing vulnerability on a cold call might be saying something like “Hi — we’ve never met … ” With this statement, you’re addressing the vulnerability of cold calling.
2. Communicate how you’re feeling.
Right now, you’re probably thinking, “How can I communicate how I’m feeling without losing credibility?”… The answer is vulnerability.
To you communicate how you’re feeling, you don’t have to show your hand. All you have to do is name the emotion you’re feeling, whether that’s nervousness or excitement. You can say something like “I want to do something a little different today” or maybe “I’m more nervous than I thought I was going to be”. Naming the emotion or the inherent challenge of that moment gives you an opportunity to be vulnerable.
At the end of the day, authentically naming your emotions helps you relate to your prospect as a human being. Again, we’re humans dealing with other humans.
3. Be the student.
Do you remember being a student? It was a great time because you were able to ask questions and request clarification when you didn’t understand something.
On your sales calls, you shouldn’t show up as a salesperson, but actually as a student.
Buyers appreciate it when you ask questions.
You don’t need to understand your buyer’s industry better than them. The vulnerable thing to do is to let them educate you.
Additionally, being a student means showing up prepared to ask the right questions. Being a student doesn’t mean that you won’t come across credible.
4. Close for what you want.
Asking for what you want is hard to do during any interaction. But during a sales call, you need to be able to close for what you want and a part of being vulnerable is asking people to do things you want.
5. Change your narrative.
We all have preconceived notions about how a sales conversation is going to go. However, one thing you can do to be vulnerable is to change your narrative.
As a sales person, you might be used to people saying no.
When you hear a no, it’s not because they hate you. There are a million other reasons that have no bearing on who you are as an individual. Instead, expect that they’re going to love you and be excited to talk to you. That will give you the confidence to go all-in.
Being vulnerable in sales can be difficult, but it’s an important skill to get what you want. It can help you build more authentic relationships with prospects and even close more deals.
If you need to improve how you engage with prospects and customers, then arrange an exploratory call
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