Reps: Are You Using Vulnerability to Boost Sales?

BY Rachel Cagle
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What makes a good salesperson? In his article, “Vulnerability: The Best Gift you can Give your Customers,” Jay Feitlinger describes a good leader/​salesperson as honest, even if that means showing vulnerability to clients. In fact, that’s the best way to reveal yourself as a real person to your clients, instead of coming across as some sales-​driven machine. Feitlinger also provides some advice on how to give your clients, “the gift of vulnerability,” and prove yourself as a good salesperson:

1.     Be Real

The nature of salespeople tends to make us want to present ourselves as if nothing ever goes wrong. Everyone, including clients, knows that is not true. Things don’t go as planned from time to time and what differentiates good salespeople is their ability to take responsibility when problems occur. Being a good salesperson isn’t determined by how quickly you can sweep a problem under the rug and pretend it never happened. In fact, the proof that you have the qualities of a good salesperson is shown the most in times of crisis. These qualities include the ability to look straight at a problem and focus on fixing it rather than attempting to conceal it. Clients will appreciate you more if you admit you’ve learned from a problem or mistake and show you are better equipped to prevent it from happening again. You are human. Accept it and show it.

2.     Be Confident

This is the tricky part. When communicating that a problem has arisen to your clients, you can’t approach them with fear, doubt or unneeded information. To maintain your client’s faith in you, remain confident while you are being honest. Be precise when talking to your client about a problem. Tell them what they need to know. The client doesn’t need every gory detail about what went wrong, they just need to see you are being upfront and trustworthy. Confidence is also crucial in reassuring your clients that you have an effective solution. Transparency builds trust and trust is the backbone of a thriving business relationship.

3.     Be a Friend

Like a leader,  good salespeople need to interact with and work together with their clients. These tactics show that you consider clients to be more than just the next sale you have to close. Spending time on their account shows you view them as business partners, as equals, and that you realize investing in them is as important to your success as it is to theirs. So, keep in contact with your clients. Don’t just be available to them, get to know them and befriend them as well. Clients are more likely to do business again with a friend than with some random salesperson.