You might associate the exciting world of sales with words like ‘hustle’ or ‘grind’ – but what about humility? While this word has a great connotation in our personal lives, humility is often overlooked in the business world. Yet, it remains an incredibly important quality in sales.
What is humility?
Humility doesn’t mean holding yourself in a low regard. A person with humility is humble, emotionally intelligent, and has a proportional sense of their own importance in the world.
In business, this can mean taking a service-based mindset, and seeing each and every customer as an individual human with a unique set of circumstances, rather than just a potential sale.
Why does this work in sales?
Humility lends to your credibility. You don’t have an inflated sense of self, or of your service/product. You’re able to make genuine connections with customers, and truly assess their needs. You won’t upsell them on something they don’t need or can’t afford. In short, you’re looking out for their best interests, and they can trust you.
Consumers want a brand, service, or product they can trust, and that often begins with a sales representative.
Likewise, humility often goes hand in hand with active listening. Active listeners are going to be able to better hear their prospects’ concerns and questions, and answer them empathetically.
Think about ordering from a restaurant. You might ask the server for a recommendation off the menu. If the server said, “the whole menu is great! Everything here is great!”, it would be less helpful than if they took the time to recommend a dish based on their personal experiences and your stated preferences. That server would be more likely to help solve a problem, and potentially earn a better tip.
Humility will help you improve your process.
A humble person can receive and implement constructive criticism and feedback without feeling personally attacked. Often, constructive criticism is an important part of bettering our tactics and our brand.
So, maybe you didn’t make this sale. For whatever reason, a prospect you thought was a great lead didn’t bite. It happens. However, their feedback might be valuable in helping you land the next sale. That is, only if you are open and receptive to it.
Humble people retain relationships.
A big part of success in business is making and maintaining strong relationships. Referrals, testimonials, and repeat customers are all a result of good business-to-business or business-to-consumer relationships. Humility is an important part of any relationship, and business is no exception.
Even within a business, humility among leadership is found to result in a more engaged workforce with less employee turnover.
Approach sales with humility. Engage with your customers, hear them, and focus on solutions for them rather than money in your pocket. You may just find it will result in both.