How to Understand Yourself and Connect with Buyers with Casey Murray
The Sales Conversation
“Contrary to popular belief, being a good salesperson isn’t just about the customer. It’s also about having a better understanding of yourself.”
In this episode, Bruce Scheer talks to Casey Murray about the role of self-awareness in improving your connection to buyers. Casey is the President of The Virtual CRO and a sales coach who works directly with business-to-business (B2B) companies and their sales teams to improve their sales strategies. His services have helped baseball teams, cloud database and data security providers, insurance companies, and digital health services build better connections with their buyers. In addition to his direct consultation work, he runs a two-hour training seminar called the Win More Sales Program for B2B Inside Sales, in which he teaches attendees how to use their self-awareness to win more sales.
Understanding Ourselves to Connect with Buyers
Every once in a while, a salesperson will struggle to have a meaningful engagement with a buyer. After all, no two people are alike, and it can be difficult to “get outside” of yourself to find a different way to approach an unfamiliar sales situation. Our gut instincts can serve us well when working with buyers similar to ourselves, but those communication channels can break down when we encounter people who have a different perspective or who perceive us, the salesperson, in ways we didn’t anticipate. These situations can impact our sales performance. They can also rock our confidence in our abilities as salespeople.
How do you address these shortfalls and learn to unlock our best performances?
According to Casey Murray, one of the keys to improving sales performance is gaining self-awareness, both about ourselves and our buyers. This means answering several important – and difficult – questions:
- Where do you excel or struggle most?
- What do your instincts tell you about what is and is not succeeding?
- How do you perceive yourself, and how do others perceive you?
- How do these perceptions affect your ability to make meaningful connections to potential buyers?
Ultimately, learning to interpret how you are perceived in a sales situation can go a long way to helping you adjust your sales strategy in the moment and with specific types of buyers. The selling communication process should involve a near-50/50 exchange, and the way you behave and interact with others can impact how you or your ideas are received.
These questions and adjustments are part of a process of self-awareness and part of learning to understand buyers to create more meaningful sales connections.
How do you develop a better understanding of your buyers?
There are two primary ways to better understand your buyers:
- Professional Behavioral Assessments
Acquiring a professional assessment, such as those offered by Cassey Murray at The Virtual CRO or directly through TTI Success Insights, will provide you with a detailed write-up that you can compare to a database of personality and performance data points. This will help you identify your top behaviors and provide powerful insight into how buyers may react to you in a sales conversation.
Take some time to analyze your sales interactions. Look at both the sales that went well and the sales that floundered. What felt good about the sale that went well (the pace, the flow of the conversation, etc.)? What felt off about the sale that went poorly (one-sided conversation, little feedback from the buyer, etc.)? Try to step back and consider both what you bring to the table and how your natural tendencies might drive your sales conversations in a particular direction.
Both methods will provide you with a language for interpreting buyer behaviors and how best to react to them to maximize success while avoiding disconnects in your sales conversations.
What are some common issues in sales conversations?
Many issues in sales conversations come down to personality differences. We can break these down into two categories: behaviors and motivations.
Your personality directly influences how you behave in professional settings, and how you behave in a sales conversation can drastically change how that conversation progresses. Are you a dominant-style seller? If so, you likely prefer to exert your influence and take control of the direction of a sales conversation. However, using such an approach to make a sale with a slow and meticulous buyer may result in a lost sale or, worse, a burnt bridge. Slow buyers desire an information-heavy, methodical approach without gut-based calls.
Motivation also plays a role in sales issues. Salespeople should consider what motivates a buyer to take action on behalf of the seller. These are sometimes called movement triggers. For example, some people are learners, who learn for learning’s sake, while others are pragmatists, who prefer getting to the point. In a sales conversation between a learner and a pragmatist, their individual motivations are at odds. They are effectively a mismatch.
In both situations, there is a substantial disconnect between the buyer and seller. Without adjusting the approach, both scenarios may result in a lost sale or the feeling of wasted time.
According to Casey Murray, avoiding or mitigating these collapses in sales communication begins with self-awareness. Once you recognize the differences that exist between you and your buyer, you can make adjustments to your behavior to maximize the potential for a future sale. For more examples of common disconnects and issues in sales conversations, listen to the podcast above.
What can you do next?
Ultimately, the process of developing self-awareness begins with a self-audit. Ask yourself the difficult questions provided above and think deeply about your positive and negative sales conversations. Identify your weaknesses and strengths and encourage your colleagues to do the same. If you are able, acquire a professional assessment or encourage your employer to do so for your entire sales team.
And keep at it. Self-awareness is a tough nut to crack, and it takes time and patience.
- Self-awareness is crucial to create meaningful engagements with buyers and involves understanding both ourselves as salespeople and our buyers. It also helps us avoid or mitigate disconnects in sales conversations.
- Interpreting the behavior and motivations of yourself and your buyers can help you make adjustments to your sales strategies before a sales conversation and in real time. Both can lead to more productive interactions.
- Self-audits and professional behavioral analytics are two methods that can help you analyze your sales interactions and improve your ability to have meaningful sales conversations. The former is a necessary foundation for developing seller self-awareness. The latter provides substantial data points that can be used to improve person-to-person sales conversations and improve the effectiveness of a sales team by identifying strengths and weaknesses and creating a safe space for addressing them.
In addition to his contributions to the podcast, Casey Murray has offered to provide a free assessment to SIX lucky listeners. If you’re interested, listen to the episode to find out how you can sign up!
- The Johari Window via Communication Theory
- Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type by Paul D. Tieger, Barbara Barron, and Kelly Tieger (Published by Little, Brown Spark)
- The Virtual CRO (Casey’s Web site)
- The Virtual CRO’s Win More Sales Program for B2B Inside Sales
- Connect with Casey on LinkedIn and Twitter
For More Great Content
Your feedback is greatly appreciated and will help me promote the show to others who will benefit from the insights provided by my guests.