HUMBLE: Respectfully accepts 'what is' to further Customer relationship
The Sales Coach brings you insightful lessons picked up from a life-long career in sales. He highlights overarching, higher order positive behaviours that can help you build sales resilience. And today he tells you how Humility will not only make you an endearing salesperson but will also enable you to sell better and more ...
Here he is, talking to a group of Sales Enthusiasts …
The Sales Coach (SC) was back with the Sales Enthusiasts (SE) on another mentoring video call … He said:
“One of you called me with a question. “Coach”, the caller told me, “ We have been studying the 100 Ways to Sales Resilience that showcase positive sales behaviours. Which is the sales behaviour you personally cherish the most?” Honestly that was a tough question. I have been thinking about it for a week now. Can you guess what it might be? ”
And the Sales Enthusiasts responded:
| “Courage?” | “Charisma?” | “Tenacity?” | “Friendliness?”
The Sales Coach said:
“I will answer that question with a story. In the early days of my career I was into automobile sales. I was responsible for a new dealership, in a large city. It was more than three months since inception, and we had arranged a celebration for ‘The first 100 days’. The guest was a Japanese Consultant – an octogenarian Guru, who was specially invited for the event. The Guru walked into the dealership, strolled through the sales and service areas, and then settled for a small cup of tea with the Dealer Proprietor.
After some minutes and a few words of appreciation exchanged with warm smiles, the Japanese Guru politely requested the Dealer to make a simple change. It shocked all of us, and the Dealer had tears in his eyes for a moment. Here is what the Consultant did.
He quietly led us to the sales floor, where there were two tables - one for the Sales People and another for Sales Managers, to talk to Customers. The furniture was brand new and glowing bright. The Guru pointed to the high back executive chairs on which the managers sat, when talking to Customers who sat in stools. He quietly removed the high back chairs, and replaced them with stools of the type the Customers sat on. To the Customers who were there in the outlet, seated on stools and awaiting service, he bowed his said, and said “I am sorry”.
He then looked at the Dealer and asked if he could replace the high back chairs in his office as well. There was total quiet, as the replacement was immediately done. The Consultant bowed to the teary-eyed Dealer who was both shaken and moved, wished the dealership the very best and walked back to his cab.
To my surprise that day, every Customer in that sales floor made a purchase! In that hour, we sold more than what we did in a week. And the NPS ( Net Promoter Score ) in that dealership soon moved north, taking sales up substantially.
Back in the car with the Consultant, he smiled at me, and said “Good work. Good Dealer. Clean Sales floor. Nice”. That was my best ever lesson in Humility.
SE: “We can see it’s a positive behaviour Sir. But how does Humility help you sell more? I mean we live in a world that likes to brag!”
SC: “That’s the surprise. Humility not only makes you a nicer person, it can also help you become more effective in selling. I can list:
5 Ways Humility Can Make Sell More and Better
(1) Humility makes you more teachable – A sales professional with humility learns from every sales situation, Customer and manager he works with. Over time that puts him way ahead of his peers.
(2) Humble salespeople break down buyer resistance faster – Salespersons who show humility in acknowledging mistakes pointed out by Customers are disarming, better liked and less likely to face buyer resistance.
(3) Humility inspires Customer loyalty – Humility signals the Customer that the salesperson is honest and can be trusted, which in turn inspires Customer loyalty and promotes rebuys.
(4) Humble salespersons are self assured – Humble salespersons have no hesitation in admitting that they don’t know something or that they got it wrong when they make a mistake. So they forge stronger bonds with Customers.
(5) Humility creates receptivity to business growth – The word ‘humble’ has its roots in the Latin word ‘humus’ that refers to fertile ground. The quiet acceptance of 'what is' that marks the behaviour of a humble salesperson is open and receptive like a fertile ground to attract opportunities which will grow and thrive.
SE: “Indeed Sir, Humility is a behaviour we need to acquire for becoming resilient. But Sir, how do we cultivate it in us?”
SC: “Here are
3 Tips to Cultivate Humility and 4 Areas to Actively Practise Humility:
3 Tips to Cultivate Humility at Work
(i) Practice gratitude and appreciation – Pause every now and then to appreciate and be grateful for the opportunities coming your way, a profession that gives you the privilege of solving Customer’s problems and the excitement of learning and growing each working day.
(ii) Affirm your self-worth - Humility develops from a very high feeling of self-worth and a determination to act to be of greater worth.
(iii) Look up to stellar role models and aspire to exemplary standards – When we set our sights high, we feel humble in awe of the glorious vision we have given ourselves.
4 Areas to Actively Practise Humility
You should actively practice humility with
(i) Your Customers – Find valid reasons to credit their decision strategy, their purchase process, their culture. When with your Customer, sit straight, don’t slouch or sit cross legged in ways that can be seen as disrespectful. Say ‘Thank You’ as often as you can, and mean what you say.
(ii) Your brand and its offerings – It is always your Brand and your Products and Processes that win. Not you.
(iii) Your peers and professionals from other functions whose support you enjoy – You always share the credit and own up the failures.
(iv) Yourself - Particularly when you are on a winning streak - Praise the Lord, thank the good times. While identifying at least one learning for yourself in each win or loss.
SE: Thank you so much Sir. We will maintain a Humility journal to internalize this behaviour”
Pause to reflect: Humility not only makes you a nicer person, it can also help you become more effective in selling
Action Question: How can you leverage humility in your interactions to become an even better salesperson?
Related Readings: December 1998 Mercuri Mail feature on Development of the Core
Takeaway Quote: ““Selflessness is humility. Humility and freedom go hand in hand. Only a humble person can be free”- Jeff Wilsoner
About the series: This is the 94th in a series of 100 Posts that seek to build your Sales Resilience ... as an individual salesperson, as a sales team, and as a sales organization. Because a Resilient India needs Resilient Sales.