Is transparency the new black? In this Expert Insight Interview, Todd Caponi discusses transparency in sales. Todd Caponi is a Transparency Nerd, author of The Transparency Sale book, sales historian, speaker, and trainer.
The interview discusses:
- Imperfection over perfection
- Addressing imperfections
- Showing empathy to facilitate a buying decision
Imperfection over Perfection
When checking a product on a website, 85 percent of people check the negative reviews first. Also, an average review score between 4.2 and 4.5 sells better than a perfect 5.0 score. The point is that imperfection and transparency sell better than perfection. When addressing the flaws first, we build trust with customers, speed up the sales process, and help them make better decisions. If we lose customers over our product’s flaws, at least we lose them fast.
Being transparent in addressing your product’s pros and cons is pretty counterintuitive to what people do in sales nowadays. People try desperately to hide flaws and downplay anything that could prevent the sale. However, when addressing the cons upfront, we lay the foundation for the customers. That helps to predict their expectations and to make them feel comfortable working with us. It shows a level of confidence to tell your customers what you do and what you had to give up in order to be great at what you do. For example, IKEA does a perfect job in communicating and controlling that kind of message to clients. IKEA openly shows that you have to put the effort in finding products in their warehouse and assemble them on your own, but in return, you get modern Scandinavian furniture at a low price. People always look for the catch when they buy. The key is to tell them that catch so that they can set the proper expectations.
Losing a customer to a no-decision happens more often today because people are scared of spending money and making purchasing mistakes. Consensus buying is hard, especially when being virtual. Thus, salespeople’s job is to show a clinical level of empathy towards buyers, build trust, and facilitate the buying process. Many people confuse empathy and sympathy. When you are sympathetic, you get what other people go through. But being empathetic means that you understand and experience what it is like in your customer’s world, and you look for ways to offer your help and support.
We need to reduce friction in sales. Also, we need to create an environment where sales representatives can qualify leads faster and recognize earlier what is going wrong in the losing cases. There is so much value in fast losing. And in conclusion, it all comes down to setting the right expectations, showing empathy, and being transparent
John is the Amazon bestselling author of Winning the Battle for Sales: Lessons on Closing Every Deal from the World’s Greatest Military Victories and Social Upheaval: How to Win at Social Selling. A globally acknowledged Sales & Marketing thought leader, speaker, and strategist. He is CSMO at Pipeliner CRM. In his spare time, John is an avid Martial Artist.