Todd Caponi on The Necessity and Success of Transparency in Sales


GUEST: Todd Caponi, author of The Transparency Sales

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There is power in transparency in every aspect of your business.

Having a culture of transparency is a valuable tool in equipping your reps, engaging your potential buyers, and creating an environment where value-adding methodology flourishes.

Todd Caponi, the author ofThe Transparency Sales, has been in the sales trenches for many years. He says that transparency is critical in today’s ever-evolving sales landscape. The necessity of clear communication and evident added value continues to increase.

Why Be Transparent?

IKEA Is a great example of transparency.

They know you’ll come and get lost in their warehouse, lug out a box full of parts on a rickety cart, and assemble the entire thing yourself using only pictures if your goal is getting great furniture at a low price.

They’re the number one furniture retailer in the world and have been for the last eight years. They make no excuses about what they are, and they know you’ll be back.

“We’re not all things to our all people, so help your salespeople understand what you’re not.”


Sales isn’t poker anymore. Arguably, it never really was.

Showing our hand allows us to broker deals with greater foresight and more options on the table.

There’s power in this because we broker deals collaboratively instead of holding out for things that neither party is willing to offer.

Todd says that transparency is a philosophical gold mine that allows you to develop a framework for instituting profitable core values.

Companies have a hundred problems but can only focus on four to five at a time. These problems tend to be the ones that tie most specifically to revenue increase, cost reduction, risk reduction, etc.

As you clarify what your company values, transparency increasingly becomes the vehicle to providing answers to these problems and adding value to customers.

Transparent Team Building

“There are some things that we can be doing in the recruiting process to be looking out for a candidate’s willingness to be a little transparent, a little vulnerable in the process,” Todd says.

It’s disarming when you find recruits who are more interested in a good fit for themselves instead of trying to sell their resume.

“One of the important things we need to be teaching reps is empathy.”

Todd Caponi,
AUthor of The Transparency Sales

Todd also encourages employers to be clear about avenues for team growth and promotion from day one.

Transparent systems create motivation for your reps. If you make a real concerted effort to make your reps successful and show you’re investing them, you’ll have lower turnover. This leads to better results.

“Your brain needs a filing system,” Todd tells us, “And if we create filling systems for the brain from the first daybeforesending them out into the wild, it helps them grow faster and feel their own growth.”

How will their resume look when their time with you is over?

In today’s market, Todd assumes that the job employees had with him probably will not be the last job they have.

Transparency helps him make them both profitable while they’re with him and prepared when it’s time for them to move on.

Engaging Transparently

Consider your daily scroll through LinkedIn or other media.

There are all these posts, but which ones do you engage in and which do you skip by?

We typically engage in the ones that add value – that engage who we are or what we’re passionate about.

We don’t want to be sold things. In fact, our brains are wired to avoid being sold to.

It’s what makes us run inside and close the door when we see the people in ties with clipboards stalking door to door.

No one is home.

“Our buyers are like us. The want to engage with human beings, and they do not want to be sold to. As a matter of fact, our brains are wired to resist being sold to.”

Todd Caponi,
Author of The Transparency Sales

Todd believes that we need to move past including our sales pitch in our prospecting.

And he hopes this approach helps your reps avoid being the proverbial “creepy guy with the clipboard” when engaging clients.

In a business climate filled with e-mails that start with “I” or “we”, Todd encourages us to avoid the trap of being internally focused.

And it seems this goal can only be accomplished through Transparent Sales.


People who go to Adobe feel like they’re learning no matter what stage they’re at in their lives, even to the point where the company has established an Adobe Sales Academy where they bring in young-tenured professionals and teach them Value Selling.

It’s amazing how quickly people can get into that new framework of thinking.

This post is based on an interview withTodd Caponi, the author ofThe Transparency Sales. To hear this episode, and many more like it, subscribe to theB2B Revenue Executive Experience Podcast.