Are you the smartest person in the room---that no one likes? Likeability is important in achieving the sales quota. A prospect must like a salesperson before he or she will trust a salesperson. It’s the old adage, “People buy from people they like and trust.”
However, I have observed smart, competent and hard-working salespeople struggle to achieve sales goals because they aren’t likeable. Why? Often, it's because they lack self-awareness. Low self-awareness affects a salesperson’s ability to see the disconnect in how they see themselves and how others see them. This perception gap creates an emotional disconnect, low trust and missed sales quotas.
Sales managers, help your salespeople be the smartest person in the room AND the most likeable person in the room. Apply these two coaching tips to bridge the self-awareness and perception gap.
#1 Way to be the Smartest Person in the Room
Remind your sales team that confident people can come across arrogant and cocky, especially when they aren’t tuning into the emotional states of others. As a result, they miss the verbal and the non-verbal cues in a conversation: A shift in body language, a change in tonality or just flat out stilted conversations!
The fix. Apply the EQ skill of empathy. This soft skill is a paying attention skill, one that is needed to hear the spoken and unspoken conversation in a meeting. Teach your sales team to call out the “sales elephant" in the room when they sense that another person isn’t comfortable with the conversation or them.
It might be as simple as saying, “I’m getting the feeling that some of my ideas aren’t resonating. Should we move the conversation in another direction?” That statement shows empathy and humility. Likeability and trust go up and the perception gap goes down.
#2 Way to be the Smartest Person in the Room
Teach your sales team the importance of aligning their facial expression and words. For example, a prospect is very open and shares her concern about how her team is too busy to embrace new technology. Now, the salesperson is totally absorbed in the conversation, however, in her absorption, her facial expression might actually take on the look of boredom. No prospect wants to give their business to a salesperson that seems bored in solving their challenges.
The fix. There are a variety of tech tools available where salespeople can record their calls. Sit side-by-side with your salesperson and ask him or her to identify when and where their facial expression doesn’t reflect the conversation at hand.
- When do they look bored versus caring and curious?
- When do they look a little too happy when a customer or prospect is sharing a problem?
- When do they look like they’ve stopped listening and are only interested in responding?
Help your sales team hit the sales quota by bridging the perception gap. It will improve likeability, trust and predictable sales.