Gallup, a global analytics and advice firm, annually ranks the honesty and ethics of professions from the eye of public esteem. And for the 20th straight year, nurses have ranked above medical doctors as the most trusted profession.  

A statistic like this might make us stop and scratch our heads in almost any other industry. Legal assistants trusted more than lawyers? Food service workers trusted more than their managers? Yet our own experiences with the healthcare industry might give us insights into this enigma and how nurses have built this lasting trust. 

Connection, Empathy, and Vulnerability  

According to Ben Zoldan, co-founder of Storyleaders and author of What Great Salespeople Do, there is a lot we can learn and unlearn to reintroduce these key human attributes back into our daily interactions (and this especially goes for those who work in sales).  

“It’s the authentic human connections we create with anyone in our lives that make everything we do more meaningful, from leadership to coaching, to problem-solving, to parenting, to teaching, and so on. We live in a world of transactions, but when connections become the focus, everything in the world is better. Everything flows from that.” – Ben Zoldan

Vulnerability, to many, is seen as a weakness, especially in a professional setting. However, it is vulnerability and the connection and empathy that can, and according to Zoldan, undoubtedly will follow from situations where we allow ourselves to be vulnerable that can make all the difference. This is true rapport. Rapport is not golf; it is not the weather – real rapport synchronizes our feelings. 

Unlearning: The Key to Maximizing Connection in the Sales Experience 

 Sales Intelligence Weekly, a podcast that covers topics focused on helping sales and marketing leaders improve sales experience, increase win rates, and elevate sales enablement, recently hosted Zoldan, where he shared key insights into improving personal connections in the sales experience. 

 At Primary Intelligence, we classify “the sales experience” as the interaction between sellers and buyers during a decision-making period. The sales experience is affected by how well a sales rep can perform in areas including: 

  • Responsiveness 
  • Knowledge of Industry 
  • Building Trust 
  • Understanding Business Needs 
  • Presentation and Demonstration 
  • Concern Resolution 
  • Product Knowledge 
  • Facilitating Ease of Purchase 
  • Professionalism 
  • Differentiation Against Competitors 
  • When a sales rep performs well in these areas, they’ll be able to build better relationships with their buyers and increase win rates – even often at a higher price. 

How easy is it to skip over bullet point #3 – equating ‘building trust’ to reserving time for small talk or remembering to mention something on the bookshelf behind your prospect in your next digital sales call? And while building trust has been found as a key differentiator in winning deals where many other deal metrics are comparable, coaching or learning such a ‘soft’ skill can feel like a lost cause.   

Learning empathy, vulnerability, and how to make meaningful connections is quite the feat, according to Zoldan, because it is not something we learn; it is something that makes us human. For our reps to be able to tap into this skill, they need to work on unlearning. Unlearning the belief that vulnerability is a weakness. 

Unlearning that we can’t let people in our lives. And ultimately unlearning the division between personal and professional. This unlearning process can start with something as simple as committing to share a story in our next professional conversation in which we or our reps take part. 

When a sales rep performs well in this area, they’ll be able to build better relationships with their buyers and increase win rates, all while building a more meaningful and purpose-driven work experience for themselves.   

Learn More 

For more insights from Ben Zoldan on maximizing the sales experience through personal connection, listen to Episode 19 of Sales Intelligence Weekly. And for more insights from incredible thought leaders across the industry, make sure to subscribe.