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About This Episode
You may not think about it every day.
In fact, a lot of people don’t like to think about it at all.
It’s your personal brand.
Whether you know it or not, your personal brand, or lack thereof, could be helping–or destroying–your career.
Sahil Mansuri, CEO of Bravado, was a guest on The Sales Engagement Podcast recently. Bravado is a professional community for salespeople. Their mission is to elevate the profession of sales and to champion salespeople who treat their customers with respect and help buyers solve problems.
Sahil talked about the evolution of the sales profession, where we are on the sales pendulum, why your reputation is crucial, and so much more.
The Evolution of the Sales Profession
At one point, the sales profession was defined by hard work, hustle, and grit.
Sales people were known for their never give up, can-do attitude, and their relentless drive to succeed.
And to be honest, they kind of had to be. The profession started out as a door-to-door job.
You would literally go knock on door after door, trying to get folks to take a meeting with you so that you could demo your product so that they would buy your product.
Sales was driven by volume. If you knocked on 20 doors, you had a certain degree of success. But knock on 100 doors? Or 500 doors? More was better, and stamina was one of the key traits that employers looked for.
Now with platforms like Outreach, you can send 500 emails with the click of a button. You can call customers until someone picks up. There’s been the elimination of the necessity to be persistent.
What is it that sets one salesperson apart from another?
Salespeople who are industry experts, who understand and know not just their own product, but their competitors, and can help build meaningful and personal relationships with their customers?
Those are the ones that make it.
All you need to do is be able to work smart and build smart, thoughtful, meaningful relationships.
Where are We on the Pendulum?
So where are we in the sales world?
The answer to what’s next in the B2B space is a pretty easy answer to get. You just look at what has already happened in the B2C world.
B2B tends to lag a bit behind when it comes to processes and trends, but to get a fresh idea of what’s coming in the B2B world, the B2C world paves the way.
The B2C world has fewer barriers to entry.
Take Netflix for example. Their homepage is simple. $7.99 a month. No credit card required. A one-click 30-day trial.
Or Amazon. Easy access to millions of things, and a 100% no-hassle return policy.
In a world in which consumers are being treated like royalty by brands, that same person who is watching Netflix or ordering from Amazon puts on their suit and tie and is the CTO or CMO, and he or she goes to a pricing page and sees “contact sales”.
They’re being inundated with cold calls and cold emails and messaging, and they’re sick of it.
We’re starting to see the change with companies like Drift, who are coming out with some fascinating tools to reduce the friction between the buyer and the seller.
Anything that creates friction will be seen as distasteful, and anything that makes it easier, faster, and simpler for the buyer to make a decision is going to be what takes precedence.
Your Reputation Matters
Sales has a reputation problem.
A recent Hubspot survey determined that sales is the number 2 least trusted profession in the world.
Think about that. We’re less trusted than lawyers, mechanics, and almost every other profession on earth, except for politicians.
The bar is incredibly low. Only 3% of buyers say that they trust salespeople.
Everybody knows that sales is all about building a relationship and you can’t build a relationship with someone that you don’t trust.
The only way to succeed in sales is to get a buyer to trust you. Nobody has time to EARN someone’s trust.
No employer has the ability to earn the right to say “Come in for an interview and we’ll tell you how great it is to work here.” You go to Glassdoor, read reviews, and then decide if you want to work for a company.
With sites like G2 crowd, the same is becoming true for SaaS companies.
Nobody is going to take a meeting to figure out what software they should buy. They’re doing their homework and research in advance. They’re reading dozens of reviews and making dozens of decisions before you even enter the picture.
As a salesperson, you’ve lost control over the sales process.
So what does a salesperson offer?
Consultation. A customer can hear about a product and read all about a product, but you can help them get the most from the product that they are using, or thinking about buying.
They’re only getting on the phone with a salesperson because you can help them improve their business.
If a salesperson doesn’t have a strong personal brand, buyers aren’t going to take a meeting with you.
So as you can see, personal brand is more important now than ever before. Decisions are made, and deals and won or lost based on the image you portray or the reputation you have.
Don’t you owe it to yourself to ensure that your personal brand is as polished as it can be?
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