Three Ways to Show Up as Your Authentic Self

How do I be me virtually?

Sure, if you’re a remote worker who has one weekly stand-up on Zoom, you may be tempted to laugh that question off. For sales professionals, it’s another story.

Despite your diligent prep work, your 4K webcam and fancy studio lights, the second you click “Join meeting” the tension sets in.

In some, it’s nearly imperceptible. In others, it’s immediately evident — their posture changes, their expressions become stiff and the greetings feel rehearsed, often accompanied by a nervous laugh or two.

You’re probably thinking: We’re two years into this shift. We expect awkward moments and tech hiccups. Does a slightly rehearsed Zoom presence really matter?

When buyers spend only 17% of their time with you and nearly half (43%) prefer a rep-free experience, Yes, it matters. (via Gartner)

It matters because for large-scale B2B purchases people don’t buy products or services. They buy the confidence that the salesperson instills in them. That little voice that says, This is a smart decision because I’m confident it will bring value to me and the business.

In the end, nothing can replace the true differentiator: you, the salesperson — so, let’s discuss the steps you can take to be you.

Step 1: Break Up with Your Virtual Background

We think we must get it perfect every time.

It’s only natural that our desire to come across as professional and credible pushes us in the direction of blurred or virtual backgrounds — and this has unintended consequences.

The largest factor is curiosity. Humans are naturally wired to wonder: What do they not want me to see? Now, this might only express itself on a subconscious level, but it’s enough to add an element of distraction to an already distraction-prone environment.

The solution isn’t a dedicated Zoom studio or a pristine office. Not everyone has those kinds of resources, but everyone can create a space where they connect with others. Clean out a closet, put up a room divider in your studio apartment, or move your overcrowded bookshelf into frame.

The idea is to show that you’re a human with a personality who is making an effort — embrace authenticity in virtual selling; it’s here to stay.

For more on authenticity, check out this article in Forbes.

Step 2: Create Space for Informal Conversation

With in-person meetings, you would arrive early to catch a key contact on the walk to the presentation room or stay after to walk with the decision-maker to their next destination.

Only, it was unsaid. That’s a monumental difference between in-person and virtual sales. The unsaid must become explicitly stated, and there’s an awkwardness to overcome there.

Once you overcome that awkwardness and lean into over-communicating, the payout is tremendous. Creating space for authentic one-on-one conversations builds credibility, trust and rapport — and our latest research study revealed that it’s those strong human-to-human connections that lead to increased sales results.

Remember: Some of the most valuable conversations are the ones where you talk the least. To better connect with buyers, leverage these questions.

Step 3: Build Your Brand

Most CRMs can pull in news on the prospect’s company and their individual social feeds. Odds are you regularly review this data when prepping for sales calls. What if the prospect did the same for you? What would they find?

The dreaded “Nothing to see here for now” where your LinkedIn posts would appear? Or a string of disconnected likes and shares from your company’s account?

It’s no secret that prospective buyers search salespeople on LinkedIn when deciding whether a meeting is worth their time or not. The research supports this: LinkedIn showed that profile completeness is the most impactful social-selling factor for sales reps who want to hit their number. In fact, the architect of that study was recently a guest on our podcast.

Even for sellers with well-curated profiles, there’s still the danger of coming off as inauthentic. To truly differentiate yourself, share news and research that interests you, articles that allow you to share a personal take instead of merely a summary.

Yes, insights are essential to share too, and when that takes the form of opinion, you provide prospective buyers with a window into who you are — simultaneously building credibility and trust.

Until next time, happy selling,