Recently, someone said something to me that stopped me in my tracks.
“A good salesperson doesn’t have to believe in their products,” this person said. “They just have to believe in themselves.”
So, in other words, salespeople don’t need to be passionate about the products or services they represent in order to be successful? And all of this talk lately about developing an understanding of prospects’ needs and pain points is useless? You’re saying that all it takes to be successful – outside of actually having a decent product to sell, of course – is a healthy dose of confidence and self-assuredness?
Wow. If only sales was that easy.
I’m sorry, but I just don’t believe that sales success is only about having confidence in your ability to sell.
Instead, I believe that truly great salespeople are the ones who spend time helping prospects genuinely understand how a specific product or solution addresses their biggest pains. They radiate trust and confidence, and only make a recommendation when they honestly feel that their offerings can help prospects achieve their goals.
And the only way salespeople can sell like that, in my opinion, is to possess a true belief in the product or service they’re selling. Otherwise, how can you say with certainty and confidence that a solution will truly make a prospect’s business more effective?
Here’s the simple answer: You can’t.
Sure, you can fake it. But what good will that do you in the long-term? And what’s the likelihood that you’ll be able to pull the wool over enough prospects’ eyes to meet quota?
The Importance of Building Relationships
As much as the sales landscape has changed in the last 10 years or so, there’s one sales activity that will always matter: Building genuine relationships.
How you create and cultivate those relationships might change over time, but the overarching importance of establishing relationships with prospects and customers will perpetually be a core tenant of sales success.
Now, if you don’t believe in the products you’re selling, and you’re selling them to real people (if you’re not doing that, you probably shouldn’t be reading this), how exactly do you think that’s going to affect your ability to build relationships – and trust – over time?
That’s where this whole theory of “simply believing in yourself” begins to deteriorate.
Why? Because, closing sales just because you’re a good salesperson does not always translate to long-term success. In fact, if all you’re doing is selling a solution that doesn’t really solve customers’ problems or fails to deliver on the promises you made for it, imagine what that will do to your relationships in the long run.
Before you know it, you’ll be that salesperson – the one who tells customers whatever they want to hear if it helps you close a deal, cash a check, and get out of dodge.
The Real Key to Long-Term Sales Success
So, does this mean that I don’t think self-belief and confidence are important to sales success?
Of course not. I do believe, however, that the only way to become a great salesperson is to develop a genuine interest in your prospects, listen to their wants and needs, and then match your recommendations to that insight. If you do that, you’ll find it very easy to separate yourself from the pack.
If, on the other hand, you’re only interested in your gain (i.e. closing the sale), it will be a turn off for your clients and you’ll end up looking like nothing more than a fraud.