Authenticity Is Not A Sales Strategy

BY Liz Wendling
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"Be authentic" has become the most tossed around and over-​used cliché in the world of business and sales. Authenticity is not a sales strategy!

Every day, professionals are told that they need to be authentic in their selling endeavors. Programs, podcasts, books, webinars, and conferences devoted to teaching people how to sell authentically are a dime a dozen. Gurus suck people in by shouting and touting, follow me on the path to closing more sales by being yourself and selling with authenticity.

Being authentic 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 are all supposed to do? Authenticity is not some innovative new business strategy. Being sincere and direct is not a fresh and modern sales tactic. Being honest in the sales process is not a contemporary concept. Authenticity is, however, a brilliant buzzword that makes professionals believe that all they need to do is show up, be nice, and be themselves, and they will have a booming business and a bulging bottom line. Not so fast!

Of course, you need to be authentic in sales. 

You are supposed to be authentic in life as well. It is imperative that you sell from a genuine place. But attracting clients and closing sales requires you to show up with something more than you just being you. Being authentic isn’t enough to close business and convert interested prospects into paying clients. Selling requires a strong skill set, a solid strategy, and a deep understanding of how people buy and what they need from you to make a confident buying decision.

The bad business advice of just be authentic leaves professionals scratching their heads. Hey, universe, I’m radiating authenticity, why is no one buying from me? Okay, I’ve been authentic all month, and I still have no clients. Heck, I’m oozing authenticity, and people keep telling me that they need to think it over and that they have no money.

Let’s get real. You’re either authentic or you’re not. If you’re not a genuine person in real life, you can’t act like you are in sales. You can’t pretend authenticity, and you can’t turn it on and off when you’re selling. 

Nothing is more inauthentic than someone who is trying to be authentic.

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 trust and facilitate a confident buying decision, 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, skills that pair up nicely with authenticity.

Authenticity sells, but only when you learn how to sell in a way that suits your personality and style. 

When you develop the sales language, mindset, and skills that build high-​trust relationships and inspire others to make a buying decision that feels right to them, you will be seen as authentic. No need to turn it on because that is who you are.

If selling is difficult for you, 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 been taught to sell in a way that resonates with you and makes you feel good. It is up to you to develop this skill if you intend to stay in business.

When you learn how to sell in a way that suits your personality and 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 be known as someone who cares and has the best interests of the client in mind.

In sales and in life, you must be real. You must be yourself. You must show up as genuine. You must know who you are. When you are in a selling situation, don’t just be yourself, be your highest and best self. Bring the self who possesses superior sales skills and who understands how to genuinely build trust and honestly inspire someone to say yes to doing business with you. How refreshing is that?

You close more business when you learn to sell in a way that you can embrace and duplicate day after day. Watch out when you do. Prospective clients will be able to see your authenticity a mile away.