6 ways for being Genuine in a Competitive Sector
Admit it. The sales world in general suffers from a tainted reputation (anyone who’s negotiated a vehicle from a dealer knows this all too well). A lot of buyers have been burned by people who are out to benefit themselves more than their customers. It’s no surprise, then, that end users often are wary about working with a salesperson for fear they’ll be taken advantage of, oversold, or somehow otherwise manipulated.
That doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, we argue that most channel sales experts stand far above peers in other industries when it comes to acting from a place of authentic care for outcomes, and the people they impact. Being genuine goes a long, long way when working toward success.
Even so, the channel is competitive, filled with opportunities to make fistfuls of money. Being genuine can be tough. It can be hard not to get sucked into recommending services or platforms that reflect the highest incentives for you rather than delivering the best results for your customer. (And, of course, the proposition is not always either/or — the great SPIFFs can align with the ideal product for the client, and that’s certainly a win-win.) Even the most grounded of salespeople can feel tempted by short-term rewards and lose sight of the long-term goals of customer satisfaction and retention.
That’s why we figured now makes a good time to remind partners of what really matters, and leads to longevity, in this industry: Being genuine, bringing an authentic desire to help customers solve business problems through the right technologies, and acting on that desire with integrity. The salespeople who embody these qualities are the ones who last through the years, make enviable livings, and build businesses others respect and want to emulate. Especially if you’re new to the channel, you might be looking for advice on attracting customers who will turn to you whenever they need help.
So what’s the bottom line? Be genuine — care about what you do, whom you serve, and how you conduct business. Check out our six tips for being genuine as a salesperson:
1. Build relationships.
This is the channel’s No. 1 value proposition and it ranks as the biggest reason why vendors want to work with partners such as yourself, and why end users often prefer an intermediary to going direct. To the first point, you bring relationships with end users whom providers often cannot reach on their own.
On the flip side, your customers turn to you rather than to a vendor directly because of the trust you have fostered. Keeping that in mind, make sure to continue focusing on long-term client relationships rather than quick, one-and-done sales. Taking the time to understand customer needs, preferences, and pain points — and showing unfeigned interest in them as individuals — will strengthen rapport. This all falls right in line with the bigger goal of being genuine.
2. Listen with intent to understand.
Active listening is a cultivated skill. Mastering it will endear you even more to your customers, and likely draw new ones.
Three keys to active listening include
- Seek to understand users’ requirements
- Pay attention to clients’ concerns, challenges, and objectives
- Refrain from interrupting or imposing your own agenda.
By actively listening, you will craft tailored solutions for each of your customers and help take their businesses to new heights, further making you the go-to for help.
3. Express honesty and transparency.
Too often, salespeople make false promises or exaggerate product features in hopes of making a quick buck or meeting a quota. Fortunately, many people in the channel do not fall into that trap (refer to the first point) but, even so, sometimes temptation can beckon. To help keep that impulse at bay, stay dedicated to honesty and transparency. This is a huge part of being genuine, too.
There is no shame in not knowing the answer to a question, for instance. Pledge to get the answer. That alone will go a long way toward earning trust from and establishing credibility with your customer, two qualities that do more than any words can do to build relationships.
4. Provide value.
Without a doubt, this is another domain where the channel shines and why it has thrived for decades. Stay dedicated to ensuring your customers derive benefits from your expertise and recommendations. Pushing products or services often only pushes people away (this goes back to points 1 and 3 above). Partners stay ahead of vendor offerings for their clients, by using the ACS Cloud Partners’ proprietary tools, like the FiberLookup™ and PricingPRO™.
5. Demonstrate expertise.
Again, one of the overarching reasons business leaders choose to team with channel partners is ties to expertise. Executives want to work with confident, savvy salespeople who know the ins and outs of the technologies they offer; who follow up on inquiries, requests, or concerns; and adapt to each customer’s unique communication preferences (i.e., email, phone, in-person).
Overall, serving as a knowledgeable, reliable guide and adviser further cements you in a position of trust. And by being genuine, you will solidify that trust, which leads to long-lasting relationships with steadfast customers.
6. Seek feedback.
The channel is a unique resource for businesses, and it’s populated by salespeople who bring their individual talents to the role. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. People appreciate genuineness, even if they might not love what they hear. By being authentically you, empathizing with customers and empowering them through technology, it’s no stretch to say you will create a successful career as a partner.
As a partner with ACS Cloud Partners, we help you build your business through countless resources like our FiberLookup™ and PricingPRO™ tools and dedicated sales support teams. Our partners also benefit with customized commission structures and marketing techniques to increase revenue. Because of our established relationships with providers, you are able to market the full portfolio of products to your customers.