“If the truth won’t sell it, don’t sell it. Do the homework for the buyer. You’re going to build trust, long-lasting relationships, customers that buy, stay, buy more, and advocate.” – Todd Caponi in today’s Tip 1396
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Scott Ingram: You’re listening to the Daily Sales Tips podcast and I’m your host, Scott Ingram. Today’s tip comes from Todd Caponi. Todd is the author of the 3x best-book-award-winning and international best-seller, The Transparency Sale, and the new bestselling book, The Transparent Sales Leader. Todd is a multi-time C-Level sales leader, a behavioral science and sales history nerd, and has guided two companies to successful exits. He now speaks and teaches revenue organizations and their leaders on leveraging transparency and decision science to maximize their revenue capacity as Principal of Sales Melon LLC. Here he is:
Todd Caponi: Hi everybody, Todd Caponi here. And let’s get nerdy from a sales history lens to think about 3 quotes from the past that not only tell us where the profession came from, but should be an indicator of where the profession’s going. You with me? Let’s get nerdy.
So quote number one is from my favorite philosopher and sales of all time. I think he’s the G.O.A.T., it’s Arthur Sheldon. In his 1911 book The Art of Selling, he’s got a quote that defines what sales was supposed to be when the modern selling profession really was founded, which was back then. And his quote was; True salesmanship is the science of service. Grasp that thought firmly and never let go. Right. Sales, the science of service being a service to our clients instead of a necessary evil being a sherpa to them along their buying journey.
That leads me to the second quote. That second quote is from 1912, and it’s from Thomas Herbert Russell’s 1912 book, Salesmanship, which is a term they used a lot back then. But his quote was just four words, and it wasn’t a piece of advice. It was a state of sales at the time. He said; Buyers know more nowadays. That quote still reverberates throughout LinkedIn and everywhere else, as it did back then, where the pervasiveness of information available to buyers meant that maybe the demise of the sales profession was coming. Back then, it was marketing and advertising and catalogs. Fast forward to even 2015, when Forrester was reporting that by 2020 they predicted 1 million B2B sales jobs would go away and hundreds of thousands of college students wouldn’t enter the profession because buyers know more nowadays. And the threat then was the rise of e-commerce and the ability for buyers to essentially self-serve. What happened? Again, as it did in 1012. And in 2015, when the opposite happened, the sales profession flourished. Why? Because more information available to buyers hasn’t made it easier on them. It’s made it harder, hasn’t it? And the salespeople that flourish in this environment are the ones that recognize that; Hey, there’s an opportunity for us to embrace our sales profession as the science of service, as Arthur Sheldon said in 1912, and do the homework for the buyer. What does do the homework for the buyer mean? It means transparency. It means coming to the table with the pros and the cons of your solution and doing it through the third quote.
And that third quote is from a guy named Arthur Dunn, wrote a couple of books back in the 1910s and 1920s. But this quote was separate from that during an interview. And that quote was; If the truth won’t sell it, don’t sell it. Circle around 1919. If the truth won’t sell it, don’t sell it. I believe that our job as sales professionals is to be a sherpa to the buyer, to be a guide, to be an adviser, to be a consultant, and not be a necessary evil. Because we as human beings, we don’t buy when we’re convinced, or if we do, we’re probably angry about it 20 minutes later. We buy when we can predict. And once we understand that role and understand that true salesmanship, the true sales profession is the science of service, if we grasp that thought firmly and never let go and understand that more information available to buyers isn’t easier for them, it’s harder. And if the truth won’t sell it, don’t sell it. Do the homework for the buyer. I’m telling you, you’re going to build trust, long-lasting relationships, customers that buy, stay, buy more, and advocate. You’re going to qualify in better, you’re going to qualify out faster, the deals you’re going to lose anyway, and you’re going to make it harder on your competitors to message against you. Stand out there’s a tremendous opportunity. And if the truth won’t sell it, don’t sell it. Let me know what you think. I would love to hear your feedback on this. All right, thanks!
Scott Ingram: For more from Todd, including the video version of this tip, just click over to DailySales.Tips/1396. Once you’ve done that. Be sure to come back tomorrow for another great sales tip. Thanks for listening!