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What about the human element in sales?

Posted by Carole Mahoney on 4/17/24 7:45 AM

What about the human element in sales

In sales, it's easy to get caught up in the scripts, pitches, and strategies, forgetting the human connection at the heart of every successful transaction. This realization hit home for me while coaching students at Harvard Business School. And the experience inspired deep insights into collaborative selling, culminating in my book Buyer First: Grow Your Business with Collaborative Selling.

The Masked Role-Play: A Familiar Scenario

Envision a group of students, ready to participate in a video role-play as buyers and sellers. As they transform from natural conversationalists into robotic pitch machines, the change is striking. It's as if they've put on masks and costumes, losing sight of the human element in their pursuit of sales success. This struggle, so familiar to many, is a poignant reminder of the challenges we all face in maintaining the human connection in sales.

Fast Talkers & Forgotten Questions Affect The Human Element in Sales

Watching these role-plays unfold, it was clear that many students fell into common pitfalls: 

  • Speaking too quickly
  • Pitching prematurely

Remember to ask critical questions. The sales profession has a common problem highlighted by the similarities between real-world sales calls. This problem affects the industry as a whole.

My Self-Reflection and Growth

Looking back on my own sales journey, I vividly remember the moment when I shifted from a state of desperation to one of determination, spurred by a financial setback.

It was a humbling experience, facing rejection at the grocery store, that made me realize the importance of mastering the art of selling.

However, despite my best efforts to absorb countless sales methods and techniques, success seemed to elude me.

Harvard's Quest for Answers: A Shared Struggle

While coaching at Harvard, I discovered that the challenges we face in sales are not unique to us. They are shared by sales professionals worldwide. The hesitation in asking questions and the fear of appearing incompetent are universal hurdles that hinder real connection and sales effectiveness. This realization brought a sense of solidarity and understanding, knowing that we are not alone in our struggles.


From Scripts to Authenticity

On my journey to success, I came to a profound realization: true mastery in sales is not about reciting memorized scripts or following rigid methods. It's about engaging in genuine human interaction. By being authentic and placing the buyer's needs at the forefront, I discovered the secret to sustainable growth in sales.

As Tory Burch once said:

"You have to be savvy, sharp, and straightforward with your customer. I think authenticity is essential.

Remember that sales is about building relationships rather than delivering rehearsed scripts.

What are your thoughts and experiences on this topic?  Please share in the comments below.  And share this post with others who might find it helpful!


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Topics: sales techniques, entrepreneur, sales tips, sales training, authenticity