The Power of Human-to-Human Connection in B2B Sales

Last month, my latest book, The Power ofValue Selling: The Gold Standard to Drive Revenue and Create Customers for Life, won the Business Sales category in the 2024 International Book Awards. This is the eighth award the book has received since its publication last September, and I am incredibly humbled by this recognition and the feedback I’ve received from readers. However, it wasn’t always smooth sailing.

In early December 2022, I was putting the finishing touches on the manuscript. As I pored over the culmination of years of research and lessons learned, I couldn’t help but ask myself: “Will the advice in these chapters still be valuable next year? In five years?” Many authors have similar moments, but my questioning was tied to a particular development.

As you remember, OpenAI had launched ChatGPT a week earlier, and its meteoric rise to 100 million users was already well underway. While we were still months away from widespread AI adoption in the sales world, it was not hard to visualize a world where all sales messaging was automated, personalized buying journeys were more tailored than ever and AI-powered self-service options dominated the landscape. Some even went as far as to predict the death of the sales profession itself.

Instead, we’ve seen everyone adapt to this new tool: AI is revolutionizing sales coaching, increasing sales efficiency and freeing up sellers to focus on the buyer and build impactful business relationships like never before.

It’s almost ironic: Nineteen months ago, I was worried the advice in The Power of Value Selling might not stand the test of time. However, instead of replacing sellers, AI has enabled them to be more human, more vital to the sales process. So, to celebrate this latest milestone for The Power of ValueSelling, I want to celebrate the power of human-to-human connection in sales and offer concrete strategies from the book that you can use to build business relationships and create customers for life.

Authenticity in B2B Sales

Is it just me, or are many salespeople starting to sound eerily similar on LinkedIn?

While GenAI is increasing efficiency like never before, the default setting seems to push us to be more “confident” and “enthusiastic” in our writing. However, there’s a careful line between engineered and manufactured. While engineering your personal brand on LinkedIn to share more of yourself will build trust, manufacturing a cookie-cutter persona will erode it.

The good news is that you can take simple actions to harness authenticity in B2B sales and build trust with potential buyers. Don’t be afraid to put your personal spin on the content you’re sharing. Instead of merely sharing an AI-generated post, adjust the language to make it sound like you. Or share an article with an AI-generated summary and a 30-second video recapping the points that resonated most with you. You could also create your own long-form content and use AI to cut it into engaging snippets that are uniquely yours.

This goes back to the very heart of ValueSelling: there is no script or the ideal salesperson. One of your company’s most potent differentiators is you. So, showcase your individuality and creativity in your personal brand by letting AI take the first pass and then injecting your personality into your content. Make no mistake—showcasing your insights and desire to empower buyers is transformative and lays the groundwork for a trusting relationship.

Becoming a Trusted Business Advisor

If an AI seller told you your company would receive a 500% ROI on its tech solution, would you believe it? Of course, not—and the same goes for human sellers. If anyone—human or AI—throws out an ROI calculation specific to my business without walking me through the reasoning and gaining my agreement at every step, I am skeptical, at best. Plus, despite a considerable ROI, the problem may not be worth solving, even if the solution were free. You’ll never know if you don’t take the time to becomea trusted business advisor.

Today’s customers expect you to fit into their process and link the impact of your products and services to their business issues. To do this, you must determine what drives them—steer the conversation beyond the problems they’re trying to solve and get them to define the business and personal issues that are important. Your goal is to draw a straight line of acknowledgment and confirmation from the business issue to the underlying problems, and ultimately, to your solution: the best mechanism to achieve the desired outcomes. Help prospects connect the dots through deliberate conversations that reveal a shared understanding and ensure the connection is overt and obvious in the customer’s mind.

People don’t like being sold to, but they like buying. Your job is to instill confidence in their buying decisions.

Sales Negotiations that Preserve Rapport

Negotiations can make even the most seasoned salespeople sweat, and yet, they are also the moments where human-to-human connection shines. After all, your success often comes down to the business relationships you’ve made throughout the buying cycle and your ability to maintain trust and rapport in these tense moments.

In The Power of Value Selling, I detail a five-step process for negotiating. Today, I want to focus on step one, which relies heavily on human-to-human connection and is one of the most overlooked.

Step 1:Choose Your Moment

Many salespeople start negotiating at the first sign of hesitation—and it’s a huge mistake. At this juncture, you can’t possibly know the extent of the objections and their root cause. Instead of incentivizing quick action, you compromise price integrity and put yourself at a tremendous disadvantage.

Instead of jumping at the first hiccup, dig deeper to construct a holistic view of the buyer’s concerns and hesitation. Use a mix of open-ended and probing questions to get to the heart of the matter. You’ll need a working understanding of all the elements at play before you can effectively diagnose objections and educate, clarify or defend as necessary.

In the end, if you haven’t connected your solution to problems worth solving right now, there’s no magical mix of embellishments and discounts that will propel the deal to close.


Remember, AI is a fantastic tool. It’s revolutionizing sales coaching, driving sales efficiency and freeing up sellers to embrace creativity and authenticity to build valued relationships with prospects and customers. The only catch is that you must identify the opportunities and put yourself out there to build your personal brand, have high-level business conversations and negotiate with a focus on creating customers for life.


For more selling advice, check out:

●     Accelerating Sales Results Through Behavioral Change in Forbes.

●     My latest in Selling PowerMagazine: “How AI Modernizes Sales Coaching for Managers.”

●     ValueSelling’s AI coaching platform ValueCoach AI.


As always, Sell withValue,


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