If you’re an instagrammer or on tik tok, there’s literally no way you can’t have heard the phrase, ‘be your best self’ – most often accompanied by a photo of a dazzling person, in a spectacular location, that was actually taken at least 50 times, just to land that one perfect shot.
Like a lot of people, there’s every chance the recall of these posts or thought of those ‘spectacular’ photos, illicits an eye roll from you and a bit of snort.
But – and hear us out – there is something in what these young influencers are saying, especially if you are a real estate agent.
Sure, the contrast between the statement and the pro filters applied to the photo may detract from the message, but if you cut down purely to the sentiment, ‘be YOUR best SELF’ the social kings and queens can actually teach us a lot about being successful salespeople in 2021 and beyond.
Research tells us that now, more than ever, authenticity counts, especially in business.
Whether it’s company social posts, face-to-face events, or simply meeting with salespeople, consumers are looking for businesses, and people within them, that they can really trust.
And trust, as we all know, springs from genuine relationships with authentic people.
Being your best self in business isn’t about looking picture-perfect online or ‘faking it ‘til you make it’, it’s about bringing your real self to work, so your clients can see your humanity. So they can relate to you and trust you.
According to accomplished sales author, Mahan Khalsa, people have a ‘built in authenticity detector’.
Here in Australia, you may have heard it referred to more bluntly as a ‘finely-tuned BS detector’.
Khalsa suggests that, after many years of experiencing them, consumers recognise patterns in behaviour that they equate with untrustworthy salespeople. If people then come into contact with a salesperson that matches those preconceived ideas, there is very little the salesperson can do to build up trust.
Many of those traits that people have built into their BS detectors, have to do with how real and genuine the salesperson is.
Interestingly, research by Assistant Professor of Marketing, Richard McFarland, shows that disingenuous behaviour by salespeople – behaviour like being coercive or manipulative – can actually result in exhaustion for the salesperson themself and a decrease in performance.
Real estate is tough enough, it’s exhausting enough, without feeling you need to go to work every day and pretend to be someone you’re not.
All research points to the idea that being your actual best and real self, as opposed to Instagram or ‘Salesman Weekly’s’ idea of the perfect salesperson will get you further, and cost you less.
A few quick tips on being genuine in sales
When we’re taught sales, we’re often bombarded with different algorithms, acronyms, quick win techniques, and tricks and tips for how we should behave in order to be a top performer in our field.
Some of those theories and methodologies still stack up. The decades (or more) of conditioning we have had to act certain ways and say certain things that don’t feel comfortable, however, are weakening our results in a society where trust, honesty and genuineness seem to trump all else.
Listen and relate
An in-depth, 70+ section survey of more than 200 buyers published in the Harvard Business Review, suggests almost half of consumers look for a salesperson who listens and understands.
Sometimes as salespeople, we are inadvertently conditioned to listen, but only because we are waiting for our turn to talk. Listen genuinely, take in what your client or buyer is saying and then… relate.
Share stories or things you know that align with their concerns, accounts, questions and show them you are human, you are empathetic and you understand what they need.
Don’t be manipulative
This one should be obvious, and yet, just last weekend, we watched as a young agent tried blatantly to manipulate a couple potentially looking to purchase a unit.
The agent was not only unsubtle in his approach, it was also clear he thought he had outsmarted the couple and they would never see through his game.
Consumers have a lot of resources and tools at their fingertips these days – never assume you know more than they do, and always be upfront and straightforward – they will not only appreciate it, they’ll respect it.
As a salesperson, being honest isn’t always easy, because saying too much could lose you a sale. But it’s important we don’t think that way, because in reality, being honest could lose you this sale now, gain you another sale in the near future and win you a loyal client for life.
In this industry, and indeed at EAC, we continuously promote how important it is that you share your expertise in a realistic and relatable way. A big part of your best self is what you know, and how you can use that to help and support your client.
Being honest, sharing your insights and genuinely aiming for the best interests of everyone you work with, grows successful brands and businesses.
There are a lot of influencers and real estate coaches out there now who sell scripts and templates and audio books so you know ‘exactly what to say, when, to get a sale’.
But the fact is, every single person is different and so is their situation. Their influences, their motivations, their fears all combine in different ways to produce a completely unique set of circumstances.
Scripts and templates are so useful as a guide, as a training tool, but when dealing with real people, be real – go off-script, use your empathy and give them what they really need in that moment, not what a script tells you someone, somewhere in a paper-based universe might need.
Don’t be afraid to be passionate
For agents who are desperately trying to avoid the sleezy salesperson stereotype, sharing your passion can feel a little like skating too close to the edge.
We know some agents, especially those who are starting out and haven’t found their own process yet, can worry that passion can be misconstrued as ‘pushy’.
But passion isn’t pushy, by definition, it is an intense enthusiasm for something. Only when we start to add our own agenda to the mix and aggressively or even assertively force that onto someone else, does it become pushy.
Share your passion and excitement – it’s human, and it’s also contagious – just leave your agenda at the door when you do.