Most sales organizations make a distinction between their “inside” sales (reps that are closing deals without being face-to-face with their buyers) and “field” sales.
The Bachelorette and its sister series, The Bachelor, have been some of America’s most popular reality shows for years.
Every Monday, we tune in hoping to see two people fall in love and get engaged within the span of a few months – only for them to (most likely) break up less than a year later. Hey, maybe we’re all just hopeless romantics at heart!
But whether you’re tuning in to see grown men throw chicken nuggets at each other or to watch two people fall in love in exotic places, it’s addicting, and we all secretly (or not-so-secretly) love it. The tears, the drama, the roses… even the sales tips?
Yes, believe it or not, salespeople can learn a lot from the Bachelor franchise’s over-the-top take on modern love. Here are 4 things Season 15 of The Bachelorette teaches us about succeeding in sales.
1. The Importance of First Impressions
Whether you’re stepping out of the limo to meet your potential future wife or meeting a prospect for the first time, those first 7 seconds can make or break the relationship. There are no second chances to make a good first impression; you need to make it count.
A few things to keep in mind with all first impressions:
- Stop Focusing on Yourself
Connor S. showed us how to execute a perfect first impression this season. Not only did he jump the mansion fence to get to Hannah, paying homage to Colton’s notorious fence jump from last season, but he also told Hannah she would always be his priority. By jumping the fence, Connor signified to Hannah that he would go above and beyond for her, and that she would be “chosen” every day.
Likewise, salespeople can be tempted to focus on their company and product, centering conversation around themselves rather than gaining a clear understanding of what the buyer is looking for.
Instead, concentrate on what you can do for your buyers. Highlight how your product or solution can help the customer address specific challenges they’re facing and let them know that – just like Connor S. – you’re invested in their success.
A defining moment of every Bachelorette season is the first impression rose. This season, Hannah gave her first impression rose to Luke P. after bonding over shared personal beliefs. While Luke may not be the most well-liked contestant this season, he knew what Hannah valued most and showed that he understood that. Not only did this help the two build a relationship, but it instantly helped Luke P. stand out among the other contestants.
In sales, “first impressions” often happen through a prospecting email, cold call, or LinkedIn message. But a lot of the messages today's buyers get are generic, or worse, irrelevant. Personalization is a good strategy here, too, because it shows the buyer that the seller has done his or her research on the buyer and their company.
- Differentiate Yourself
In years past, night one at the Bachelor mansion featured tons of guys wearing creative costumes – hoping they stand out enough to earn a rose. This season, however, the wacky costumes were limited to a pilot uniform (Peter) and a guy who showed up in a cardboard box (Joe).
Only one contestant stood out in Hannah’s eyes: Peter the Pilot. Peter stepped out of the limo proudly wearing his pilot uniform, and Hannah instantly fell in love. But why?
Peter had the confidence to wear something that creatively set him apart from everyone else. We all soon forgot about Chasen, this season’s other pilot contestant, because Peter’s uniform completely overshadowed him. Out of the two pilots and Joe, Peter was the only one to receive a rose. Was it because Joe annoyingly referred to himself as the “Box King”? Was it because Chasen, the forgotten pilot, was too shy? Was it because Hannah loves a man in uniform? Yes, yes, and yes.
In sales, having confidence in yourself and your product is important. But overconfidence is just as risky as calling yourself the “Box King.” Like Peter, you need to think about how to make yourself (and your company) stand out when engaging buyers, while also being genuine.
Don’t be like Chasen, the forgotten pilot. Nail your first impression so you don’t have to watch another salesperson walk away with your next deal.
2. Dealing with Competition
The concept of The Bachelorette is simple: there’s one girl, and 30 men competing to win her heart. Most sales opportunities won’t involve 30 competing vendors, but The Bachelorette does remind us how not to sell against the competition.
Earlier this season, for instance, Luke S. and Luke P. got into a heated argument that began on the rugby field and continued during a group date. The source of their argument? Each Luke began criticizing the other in front of Hannah, in hopes of eliminating the other from the show. In the end, neither of them looked good. Instead of setting themselves apart from the competition, they both fell to the bottom of Hannah’s list.
Following the Luke vs. Luke feud, Garrett was able to swoop in and steal Hannah’s attention. He focused on the positives of his relationship with Hannah, rather than discussing another contestant's shortcomings, and talked about what he could bring to the table. In the end, he earned the group date rose.
Bad-mouthing the competition does happen in sales – but this is a tactic that can rub many buyers the wrong way. It’s always better to discuss your own strengths and emphasize the value your company provides, rather than trying to throw a competitor under the bus.
3. Establishing Trust with your Buyer
During Peter’s one-on-one date in Latvia, Hannah asked how he would balance a committed relationship with the demands of being a pilot. Rather than shy away from the question, Peter acknowledged that juggling the constant travel would be tough, and that he would need to be with the right kind of girl to make it work.
Not only was Peter honest, but he also clearly communicated his feelings for Hannah, revealing that he was falling in love with her. His honesty helped build trust with Hannah, bringing them closer together and, in the end, landing him a rose.
Trust is the foundation of a strong buyer-seller relationship, too. A buyer is much more likely to believe a seller’s product pitch if they trust the person delivering it. And one of the best ways to develop a longstanding relationship with your buyer, of course, is to be honest and accurate during every single interaction. The stronger the trust is between a salesperson and their buyer, the more likely they are to close the deal.
4. Good Listening Pays Off
Failing to understand another person’s needs is never a good strategy – whether it’s your buyer or your date – as Bachelorette contestant Cam showed us this season.
Fearing he was going to be sent home, Cam decided he was going to talk to Hannah about a long laundry list of sad things he’s experienced in his life. He started off by describing his medical issues, followed by his grandmother’s death, and having to give up his puppy in 2017.
This didn’t sit well with Hannah, not only because she had just said she didn’t want to talk about anything negative, but also because his intentions came across disingenuous. The perception was that he cared more about earning a rose than respecting Hannah's wishes. As you may have guessed, Cam did not receive a rose and was sent packing. If only he would’ve listened to Hannah, maybe “ABC: Always Be Cam” would’ve lived to see another episode.
Listening skills are just as critical in sales. Dominating the conversation, rather than listening to the needs of the customer, is a common (and cringeworthy) sales mistake. Really listening to the buyer, on the other hand, means they will feel heard – allowing you to provide the best possible solution for their needs.
Turning your sales reps into top performers starts during the onboarding process. Check out our new Sales Onboarding Cheat Sheet to learn more!