Selling is increasingly pushed to purely digital channels and while it’s enhancing efficiency, it’s also removing the heart of selling: trust. Using the right kind of sales technology can play a crucial role in restoring trust between people.
To be human is to sell
In his best seller To Sell is Human, Daniel Pink argued that selling is a human tendency and something we’re all doing all the time, regardless of whether we’re formally working in ‘sales’ or not. We’ll even go as far as to say, ‘To (be) human is to sell.’
Humans enjoy a unique perspective on the world. We make value judgements and ascribe worth to things. We value things not simply because they empower us but also because they are understood as meaningful, enabling us to shape our lives in a meaningful way. It’s not unusual for someone to give up convenience or money for something of little to no practical or monetary value.
Negotiating with and persuading – ourselves and others – are part of our pursuit to live meaningful lives. In this sense, we’re all constantly ‘selling’ and ‘buying’ ideas to and from one another, regardless of whether the material objects we exchange in the process appear useful or not.
Humans aren’t persuaded by mere facts about things or products. These tell only half the story, if any story at all.
Facts don’t persuade people, trust does
Facts about things have no persuasive power apart from a believable story, colouring them with meaning. Stories are more persuasive and believable when they are told by someone we trust. Truth needs to resonate with us on more than a mere rational level, it needs to be communicated by someone we perceive as being truthful.
James Clear, creator of the Habit Academy, makes a similar point in describing what it takes for people to change their mind about something. Believability and trust happen through personal engagements with others. We discover, for instance, that people with strong disagreements about the same facts are very likely to find common ground and agreement when they share a meal together. Their experience of one another now colours the facts they exchange. Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt concludes likewise that we believe things not on pure factual but rather moral grounds, experienced in relationship and during face-to-face encounters.
In short, accurate information about things (or products) don’t persuade people, trustworthy people who they have personal encounters with do.
Similar conclusions from the sales field
In an earlier article on How to enjoy more face-time with customers we shared the findings of a Harvard Business Review survey that highlighted the importance of travelling to meet key clients, partners and employees in person. It’s clear from this research that business leaders understand that healthy relationships are crucial to sales success.
What was also clear from the research, however, was that business leaders aren’t certain of technology’s role in growing business relationships.
This is understandable. As Team Human’s Douglas Rushkoff noticed, so much of the technology we’ve developed to connect people across the digital landscape has done more to isolate us from one another than to bring us together in conversation. Across industries, selling is increasingly pushed to digital channels, resulting in less face-to-face interactions.
The result is an erosion of trust, loyalty and understanding between people, and ultimately less selling.
Can sales technology help us trust one another?
What we know is that Skynamo can and does change customer relationships because it’s a technology that increases face-time.
Skynamo changes the sales conversation and transforms business practices in a manner that results in more face-time with customers, increasing sales and cutting various costs in the process.
Our customer B2C Premium Drinks nearly tripled their monthly customer visits because our sales software helps their managers to be more hands-on with their reps, giving them a clearer understanding of the issues they face out in the field.
‘Daily visits nearly tripled because of the transparency provided by Skynamo,’ says Derryn Maclear from B2C. ‘We have been able to assist our reps in doing more daily visits as we are able to help them plan their routes better.’
Interstat’s Lisa Joao Campbell shares that before Skynamo helped transform their sales process it was a matter of out of sight, out of mind. ‘The moment you start visiting a customer less, you can immediately see a drop in their buying patterns,’ she tells. Using Skynamo helped Interstat increase their visits to customers by more than 25%.
As you prepare your sales team for selling in the digital age, it’s not a matter of choosing between face-time with customers and the latest technology. It’s crucial to choose sales technology that increases real conversations and trust.