Why Transparency Sells Better Than Perfection


Traditional outbound sales techniques taught salespeople to position their product as the biggest and greatest, but that approach doesn’t resonate with today’s buyers. Our latest podcast guest explains why.

Todd Caponi is the Founder of Sales Melon, and author of the award-winning book, The Transparency Sale. He teaches revenue organizations how to leverage transparency and decision science to maximize revenue capacity. 

Todd joined the Predictable Revenue podcast to discuss why transparency sells better than perfection.

Why transparency is so important in outbound sales

Honesty and transparency aren’t new concepts in sales. Most salespeople understand the value of cultivating trust with prospects and know that transparency is the best way to build that relationship. 

What may be surprising is how much honesty influences the buying decision. Today’s consumers don’t expect perfection, because they know it isn’t real. This is why a product with an average of 4.2-4.5 star reviews will sell better than the product with only 5 star reviews. 

Buyers like to be able to predict results before purchasing, and seeing those negative reviews allows them to feel more confident in their decision. The key is to be upfront about your product’s flaws in a way that builds trust–and doesn’t damage your reputation.


Applying honesty to outbound sales techniques

Start by putting yourself in the shoes of your customers. Think about what they would want to know, and be honest with them about any negatives: if your competitor has features you don’t, if your price is higher, or you’ve had negative reviews in the past. Buyers are going to discover this information either way, so it’s best to get ahead of it and address the elephant in the room.

What you tell your prospects needs to match up with what they find online. If you say one thing and your reviews say another, it will come across as dishonest. Instead, own your flaws and make a compelling argument for why your product is the best choice.

This approach of “owning what you’re good at and what you’re not” results in more qualified buyers. If your product is missing a certain feature that the prospect thinks is a dealbreaker, it’s better to know that upfront than to dance around it for months. But for those who are qualified, your honesty will build trust and shorten the sales cycle.

Transparent prospecting

Applying a similar approach to the outreach process, think about how you can help the prospect (rather than what they can do for you). Executives get hundreds of emails a day, and if your message starts with “I” or “we”, it’s probably going to be deleted.

Try optimizing not only the subject line but also the preview text of your emails (the first 10 words or so). Be personal and provide value. Find someone in your network who matches the buyer’s profile and ask for their feedback–if your message landed in their inbox, would they read it? If not, it’s time to rework your messaging.

How to leverage transparency in the negotiation process

In outbound sales, there’s a tendency to view a closed deal as the end of the client relationship, when in fact it’s only the beginning. Especially in the B2B space, your outbound sales team needs to continue to build trust through the negotiation process and beyond.

The best way to handle discounts and negotiations is, to be honest with the buyer. Explain what your pricing is based on, and how they can get a discount by buying more or paying upfront. 

This is very different from traditional outbound sales techniques that rely on coercion and fake expiring discounts. Instead, customers gain confidence in your pricing because they can see where you’re coming from. And if you offer a discount for paying in advance, you’ll also benefit from more predictable revenue. 

Final thoughts on transparency in outbound sales

Building strong customer relationships starts with transparency during the outbound sales process. Every interaction with a prospect either builds trust or erodes trust, and if you practice honesty with your customers, they’ll reward you with longer and more profitable relationships.

If you want to connect with Todd to learn more transparent selling, reach out via LinkedIn or visit ToddCaponi.com.

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Throughout these pages, you will find lessons taken from conversations we’ve had with thought-provoking B2B sales leaders, insightful advice, and actionable tips to help you navigate changes in the industry and leverage new opportunities for growth.

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