Episode 299: How to Break the Used Car Salesperson Stereotype with Harry Spaight

GUEST: Harry Spaight, Founder of Selling With Dignity

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When you think of sales, what's the first image that comes to your mind?

You're probably thinking of a used car salesman, insincere, overly friendly, wearing flashy, outdated suits, making grandiose promises about how good the car is.

Well, you're not alone.

But the reality is not always what it seems.

So, how can we overcome the image of the stereotypical sales professional and still achieve success today?

To shed light on this important topic, we are joined by Harry Spaight, Founder of Selling With Dignity. Harry guides business owners and salespeople who wish to grow their sales without being that pushy, self-serving salesperson. He is also a Sales Coach at Hi-Lite Coaching + Consulting and Director of Sales at HGI Technologies, a Halsey and Griffith Company.

Can You Succeed in Sales While Staying True to Your Values?

Starting in the late '90s, Harvey's journey in sales is a classic tale of clashing ideals and real-world adaptation. Inspired by Og Mandio's "The Greatest Salesman in the World," Harry entered the sales world expecting to embody service, love, and perseverance. However, he was met with a high-pressure sales environment full of aggressive tactics. 

Despite this, Harry didn't conform to the norm; instead, he designed his own path, blending his mission-driven ethos with the realities of sales. For Harry, success doesn't mean compromising your principles; it's about integrating them into the world as it is, not as you expect it to be.

“Pushiness is when it's uncomfortable for the buyer. I really don't like to be in a position where I'm uncomfortable as a buyer”.

Harry Spaight, Founder of Selling With Dignity

Empathy Over Aggression

Effective and ethical salesmanship goes down to displaying empathy and genuine customer service over aggressive, pushy tactics. Being overly aggressive can turn off potential customers, especially those who are more giving and service-oriented. Always focus on understanding the customer's comfort and needs rather than bulldozing over their concerns with prepared responses. Building trust and understanding, tailoring your approach to each unique customer, and focusing on long-term relationships are the only way to create "raving fans" rather than just customers.

“Every sale was virtually different. So, as a sales leader, I needed to get inside of what we were selling”.

Harry Spaight, Founder of Selling With Dignity

Building Genuine Connections for Long-Term Success

Making sales more human and effective is all about showing genuine interest in your customers. Forget the old "What do I need to do to get you in this car today?" Instead, listen and empathize. If they're shopping around, tell them you get it because you do the same. This puts you on the same side as the buyer rather than in a confrontational, winner-takes-all scenario.

Remember, it's about building a relationship. Offer value, like helpful articles or insights, without pushing too hard. When they're ready to buy, even if your price is higher, they're most likely to negotiate with you because you've built trust. That's the real win-win, turning every sale into an opportunity for future business and referrals.

“Don't try to oversell. Be happy with building the relationship and letting them go do their thing. Provide consistent value to them”.

Harry Spaight, Founder of Selling With Dignity

Not Sales, Not Marketing, But "Smarketing"

The age-old sales versus marketing rivalry is outdated. Today, blending them into "smarketing" is the way to go. It's about time salespeople brand themselves, embracing social media to showcase their work and promote their clients. This offers free advertising but also builds a personal connection with the audience.

Look for entrepreneurial-minded sales professionals who see the bigger picture and are committed to their careers, not just the immediate paycheck. This integration is vital because, let's face it, standing out and creating genuine connections is more crucial than ever.

“All of us who are in sales should be branding ourselves. We should be on social media as to who we are, what we do, how we serve people, and take pictures of our clients, promoting our clients”.

Harry Spaight, Founder of Selling With Dignity

Millennials and Gen Z's Secret Weapon for Exceptional Communication

Younger generations, particularly Millennials and Gen Z, often get a bad reputation for having short attention spans and being impatient communicators. But here's a game-changing tip for those in this demographic: listen up and practice, practice, practice. Turn every interaction into an opportunity to enhance your listening skills.

When a customer talks, don't just wait to speak; truly listen and ask engaging questions. Apply these skills in every aspect of your life, from professional to personal. And remember, it's not about rushing to respond.  After someone speaks, pause for a moment before replying. This shows you're not just waiting to talk but genuinely processing what's been said.

“Become the best listener when your customers are saying that they're going to shop around and all they get are salespeople who are selling and talking, and then they get you, and you're asking questions after they say something and say things like, Tell me more. That sounds amazing. That sounds incredible. What else happened?”

Harry Spaight, Founder of Selling With Dignity

Now that you know how to change the sales stereotype and sell with dignity, check out the full list of episodes at The B2B Revenue Executive Experience. If you enjoy the show, instructions to rate and review it are found here.

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