Authenticity is not a sales strategy
Selling requires a strong skill set and solid strategy
“Be authentic” has become the most tossed-around and overused clichés in the world of business and sales.
On a daily basis I hear about how we should be genuine in our sales and selling endeavors. Programs, podcasts, books, webinars, and two-day conferences devoted to teaching people how to sell authentically abound. Gurus suck people in by shouting and touting, “Follow me on the path to closing more sales by being yourself and selling with authenticity.”
This buzzword is a hyped-up way of saying be real, genuine, truthful, direct, honest, open, sincere.
When did that become a unique approach?
Isn’t that what we were supposed to do all along?
Authenticity is not some innovative new business strategy.
Being sincere is not a fresh and modern sales ploy. Being honest in the sales process is not a shocking concept … at least, it shouldn’t be.
It is, however, a brilliant catchword that makes professionals believe that all they need to do is show up and be themselves, and they will have a booming business and a bulging bottom line.
Not so fast.
Just be yourself is damaging business advice because it only tells half of the success story. That business killing advice implies that no skills are necessary.
It should be a given that you must be authentic in sales. Moreover, you are supposed to be authentic in life as well. It is imperative that you sell from a genuine place. But closing sales requires you show up with something more. Being authentic isn't enough to close the deal and convert interested prospects into paying clients.
Many professionals have shared with me that they love what they do, but hate to sell. I tell them that if selling is difficult, you are doing it wrong. If you feel out of alignment when you’re selling, you are doing it wrong. It feels unpleasant and inauthentic because you have not learned to sell in a way that resonates with your personality and values.
It is up to you to develop that skill if you intend on staying in business.
When you learn how to sell in a way that suits your style, you will be perceived as authentic. When you develop the sales skills that build trust and inspire others to make a buying decision that feels right to them, you will show up as someone who cares and has the best interests of the client in mind.
For example, you may be the most authentic CPA, dentist, attorney or financial planner on the planet; but if you lack the ability to highlight your value and expertise or you are missing the skills that build my confidence, I don’t give a rip how authentic you are.
Authenticity only gets you so far.
I want to work with someone who possesses stellar skills in their field, know-how that pairs nicely with authenticity.
What happens after you meet a potential client and you oozed authenticity? What occurs after a meeting when you were just being yourself? Is there a stampede of people racing to hand over their checkbooks and credit cards?
People often ask if I can teach them how to sell with authenticity. My answer is I can’t teach anyone to be authentic. You are authentic or you’re not.
What I can do is teach them the updated and evolved sales skills that allow them to show up as confident and competent. I can teach them how to be congruent in what they say and do, which makes them authentic.
I witness many people who envision themselves as genuine and approach people with the sole intention of closing a sale, sealing the deal and adding to their bottom line.
They are the hammer looking for any nail. Everyone is their target.
Anyone can make the claim that they are authentic, but showing up in a manner that is inconsistent with that claim, makes them look like a fake. No one wants to feel like they are being played by someone who is only acting like they care.
Just because Pinocchio claimed that he was a real boy did not make it so.
In sales and life, you must be yourself. You must show up as genuine. You must know who you are.
But don’t stop there – Bring your highest and best self.
You can close more business when you learn to sell in a way that you can embrace and duplicate day after day. Prospective clients will be able to see your authenticity from a mile away. That is how you close more sales and grow your business.