Are you recruiting intimacy-driven salespeople? You should be
An argument for recruiting employees who build customer relationships based on alignment, understanding and connection
What does customer intimacy feel like? Many people don’t know because they’ve never experienced it, whether they’re sitting in the buyer’s seat or the seller’s seat. An intimate customer relationship is based on alignment, understanding and deep connection.
If your business involves complex sales, you need to be recruiting intimacy-driven salespeople who can meet your customers where they are and love the opportunity to do it. These are the relationship builders you need to grow your company, and yet you don’t see “driven by intimacy” listed as a desired trait on many job descriptions. The concept of what it means to be intimate with your customers is an issue across industries and businesses, and yet it seems to have gone missing from consideration when it comes to both culture and recruiting.
Great salespeople have several traits in common. We all know most of them: good listeners, organized and prepared, ask good questions, OK with silence, comfortable talking about money and impeccable at follow-up, among others. But the thing that makes customers feel truly understood is when your company culture matches their own values and culture.
Although we might think otherwise, healthcare provides an example of what this means. After all, there is no more intimate relationship than the one between doctors and patients. In a recent discussion with one of our prospective customers, he shared that customer intimacy is a critical issue in the healthcare industry and for companies selling into that market. He suggests that intimacy means speaking the industry language where doctors are providers to their patients. It means understanding how mission driven your customers are and adjusting your message to reflect your “why” for serving them. And it means making sure your culture supports your people in a way that sustains the intimacy of relationships.
No matter the industry, your specific mission and culture are unique, which means you need to recruit and retain people who fit with all aspects of your organization. They are worth many times over what it may take to find and keep them. They are your right people and there are ways to discover who and where they are.
In terms of recruitment, your strategy should involve developing an ongoing pipeline of likely candidates and using every tool available to screen for culture and components important to your industry and clients. When it comes to culture, there is much to think about. Keeping great people involves a culture of respect, fairness, opportunity to grow, flexibility, transparency, common purpose and more. Communicate with your people continuously, get their feedback and act on it. Leadership communication is even more important during extraordinary times like battling COVID-19 and throughout every phase of recovery.
Make “intimacy-driven” your most important requirement for salespeople and creating intimacy in your workplace your priority. It will flow out into the market through your people, resulting in long-lasting, profitable relationships that both your salespeople and customers will feel and value.