Matt's Monday Musings: Authenticity never goes out of fashion
Often touted in the Sales Engineering world is the phrase ‘trusted advisor’ and that you must achieve trusted advisor status with your clients in order for them to.. well… trust you.
But what is at the basis of this trust? Someone doesn’t just automatically trust you the moment you walk in the door. Maybe the element of the title of ‘engineer’ can set a tone or expectation of your role.. but you have to earn that trust over time and action.
The key trait of trust is authenticity. You have to be honest, believable and entirely authentic when it comes to your approach to selling and how you interact with prospects. You need to be able to display empathy but also know when to be honest and say ‘I don’t think this is right for you’ or ‘Our solution doesn’t have that feature, but let me take this away and see how we can solve for this’. Being honest and believable grows authenticity right in the moment and you have the chance to start earning that trust from the very first time you meet someone.
In addition, authenticity is earned over time with your follow-on actions and how you conduct yourself throughout the sales process. Make sure you follow up on your action items and your promises. If you say ‘great question, let me take that away and get you an answer’ make sure you do it. Think about your general approach and language in your conversations as well: Speak positively, avoid trash talking the competition, hold yourself to high moral standards. These are all things that reinforce your authenticity.
Your actions speak louder than your words as an SE and you should ensure your actions are as authentic as the words you say.
An often fun and validating moment in a demo is when an AE is making a point and the prospect looks over to you and says, ‘Is that really true?’. You are seen as believable and you have earned some level of trust.
One final point of validation of this authenticity. How many times have you been asked to stay on the project as a consultant during implementation? That’s when you really know you’ve nailed it!
A few actions to take away from this one:
1) Deliver on your promises
2) Be honest, humble, empathetic and believable
3) Earn your trusted advisor status from the very first call.
Matt Finch is the Vice President, Global Solutions Consulting at Mavenlink. He's passionate about SaaS technology, leadership, and sales excellence has enabled him to successfully build award-winning sales, pre-sales, consulting and enablement organizations across the world.
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