Episode OneHundredSixteen

Tyra Banks Was Right About ‘Flawsome’ (& B2B Sellers Should Take Notice)

Guest: Todd Caponi, Managing Director for VentureSCALE

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About This Episode

It’s not everyday A-list celebrities give a workshop on B2B sales. But Tyra Banks did just that (probably without even knowing it).

You’ve probably heard her new term “flawsome,” which Tyra used as the centerpiece for a ball she threw for a girl’s club. The term implies that we should celebrate individualism, with all the positives, and all the negatives.

Here’s the message for B2B brands:

Lead with flaws.

Don’t take my word for it. Take Todd’s.

He was the CRO at PowerReviews, and after reading a few studies, he had an epiphany: Transparency sells.

He left PowerReviews, and started speaking out about the findings. He’s now the Managing Director for VentureSCALE, an accelerator for B2B tech companies. He’s also a speaker, trainer, and author of The Transparency Sale.

Todd came on the Sales Engagement Podcast to explain why every B2B sell starts with transparency.

Statistics show that people don’t listen to 5-star reviews

When Todd worked at PowerReviews, they conducted a few studies about how buyers behave in relation to product reviews.

Here’s a few of the highlights:

  • 96% of people read reviews before they purchase anything of substance. (I think there’s probably about a 4% error rate in that statistic.)
  • 82% of people skim past 5-star reviews to read the 1 to 4-star reviews
  • When a product has a rating between 4.2 and 4.5, it sells better than a comparable product with a higher review.

What does all that mean for B2B sellers?

  • Everyone reads reviews
  • People don’t believe in perfection. They want to hear the negative, because they want to know what to realistically expect

Here’s Todd’s synopsis:

“When we led with our flaws, magic happens, cycles shrink dramatically, win rates go up, we qualify deals in faster, we qualify losing deals out faster, and we make it really hard on our competitors.” 

Buyers want predictable relationship outcomes

Essentially, buyers are seeking the negatives first, and in today’s world, if they’re not getting it from you, they go elsewhere — honest reviews are literally a Google search away.

And, what buyers are really hunting for when they read reviews, especially as B2B buyers, is how the experience with the seller will pan out. B2B buyers know that they aren’t simply purchasing a product or service — they’re starting a relationship with you, which is why they often go to Glassdoor reviews first. They are looking to see how your company treats its employees as an indicator of their potential buying experience.

The IKEA example: great at one thing (not so great at others)

I asked Todd for an example of a company who leads with flaws, and he offered up IKEA:

They’ve been the number-1 furniture retailer in the world since 2008. But, have you been to an IKEA?

(Of course you have.)

Frankly, many parts of the experience just aren’t that great. It’s loud, the lines are long, and it can take a while to meander through the entire store. Then, when you finally do get home, you have approximately 42 million pieces to put together from an all-picture instruction manual.

But guess what?

IKEA owns this, and they tell you, up front (literally, there’s signs on the wall when you walk in), what to expect — they tell you that you will have to put things together, and that’s why their prices are so great.

Basically, IKEA is communicating that they won’t be the best at a lot of things — because their goal is to ensure that you are able to buy modern Scandinavian-crafted furniture at a phenomenal price.

(A few other brands that do this well are Southwest and Progressive.)

So here’s the bottom-line question Todd said every business should be answering for their customers:

“What are we giving up to be great at what we think is most important to our customer base?” 

Don’t go out and say, ‘Our company sucks’

A word of caution, here:

Transparency does win (every time). But that does not mean you should go out and say, “Here’s why we suck” to the whole world.

Remember the term from Tyra Banks? Flawsome. That’s the mindset you’re shooting for:

“Our brand is incredible at a few things, because we sacrifice these other areas. We are not perfect.”

Statistics back this up as well. Remember, the products that perform the best aren’t 5-star products, but they also aren’t 1-star products:

The products that perform the best are in the 4.2 – 4.5 range.

This is an interview with Todd Caponi from VentureSCALE. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or on our website.


About The Podcast

The Sales Engagement podcast is the #1 podcast focused on engaging your customers and prospects in the modern sales era. This show features real-life stories and best practices from revenue leaders doing the job day in and day out, in a casual, radio-like talk show.

Each episode features modern tactics, strategies, hacks, and tips to get the most out of your sales engagement strategy and help you navigate the next generation of sales. You’ll find energetic talks that will provide you with real actionable value around building meaningful connections and creating a better selling experience through authentic conversations that you can measure.

The Sales Engagement podcast is here to help B2B sales leaders, customer success leaders, and marketing leaders innovate and usher in the next era of modern sales by building pipeline, up-selling customers, and ultimately generating more revenue with more efficiency.

Hosted by Joe Vignolo, Senior Content Managing Editor at Outreach, and Mark Kosoglow, Vice President of Sales at Outreach.

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