Jane Gentry, Principal at Jane Gentry & Company, sales growth expert, executive coach, and global keynote speaker, joins me on this episode.
- Jane says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps today is trying to navigate technology and traditional relationship-building to find the middle ground among the many ways to connect with the customer.
- We have to continue to build authentic relationships. Authentic people admit they don’t know everything and they might not have the right fit for the customer. They are teachable; they let the customer be the expert.
- As a keynote speaker, Jane says people don’t want to see ‘a speaker.’ Audiences want to get to know you and connect with you. Clients are the same way.
- Vulnerability, humility, teachability, open-mindedness, and empathy are necessary basic human traits. Are new generations not learning relational intelligence? A high reliance on technology causes gaps in social skills.
- Skill gaps are solvable. Leaders should get past biases about different generations and assume a positive intent. Leaders have to learn to lead new generations differently than previous generations.
- The biggest challenges in the new generations are skill gaps that are coachable and trainable. The ability of college students to empathize has dropped 40% since 2002. That lack needs to be addressed for sales teams.
- Millennials and younger sales professionals tell Jane they want help to bridge these skill gaps. They want to be taught empathy. Cognitive empathy can be taught. As we act empathetically, we can become more truly caring.
- Technology is a great servant and a miserable master. We are fundamentally wired to connect with people, not with emojis. You must come face-to-face to build trust. Jane talks about the future of B2B sales in view of automation.
- Social media builds brands, not relationships. People who lack interpersonal skills will need to learn them to succeed in people-facing roles. Only 22% of companies are investing in teaching this age group how to engage.
- People change as they age. The Boomers went from the counterculture to the C-suite and their behaviors changed. The difference with the latest generation is how technology has impacted them and its continued impact.
- In order to communicate well with young people, leaders will have to coach them and ask great questions. Many of today’s young have never received criticism.
- Managers are some of the least-developed people in corporations. They have been promoted but not equipped to lead. Don’t fix the Millennials, fix the leaders.