I haven’t done any empirical research on this, but I’d venture a guess that Chief Information Officers might be the most sold people around. From the dollars going into data centers to security to big data, itself, and don’t forget about the cloud, they – for the most part – are responsible for it all.
Just last week I was working with the Chief Information Officer of a Fortune 500 company, and he said something that raised an interesting perspective. He commented, “I can always tell whatever latest training these sales people have been through by their approach and what they say. It’s comical.”
Methodologies and approaches are great, but when they take away from your authenticity and care for the person to whom you are selling – red flag.
No, this isn’t another reminder to be audience-focused (although every message begins with your listener!). Instead, it’s a reminder to just be authentically you.
How can you focus on conversational credibility?
Ditch the script.
There is a huge difference between an over-rehearsed, “I’ve been told to say this, so I’m saying it, and I sound like a robot” type of pitch and an authentic “these are my actual words I am using to steer this conversation.” Don’t let your methodology take over. When you’ve moved from the role-play to the real deal (whether its face to face, over the phone, via videoconference or screen-share), it’s obvious when you’re relying on your script. Instead, master your content and go unscripted. The Decker Grid ™ is a great tool to help steer your conversation without scripting it.
Listen – and be present – make it a conversation.
Sure, the Challenger Sales methodology works – but it works really well if you are authentically listening and present in the conversation, rather than just trying to challenge the CIO.
The best way to understand how you can be more authentically “you” is to be your backyard barbecue self. When you are with friends and family, you are most likable and sincere.
Fads change; they come and go. But unlike your typical flavor of the month, this training tip about authenticity and connection is worth keeping in mind as a constant.