Making Sales More Human

At Shopify Plus, we’re pushed to think deeply about how sales is done and challenge assumptions that have built the foundation of the industry. For me, something that I think about a lot is how to make inside sales less transactional, and more human.

In an inside sales environment it is very easy to be transactional since everything is done online. For example in the context of meetings: when someone is late to a meeting you can just surf the web or answer emails until everyone is ready. And, then after calls everyone signs off right away. The below video, depicts how different online meetings can be.

This is magnified in an outbound role where a simplified description of the role is to interrupt someone’s day and get their attention. It’s very easy for someone to brush off your email or not show up for your scheduled call.

Sales reps are taught to build rapport for this reason with their leads. However, it’s really a combination of small things in the process that can make the real difference. The goal with this effort is to have lead think “oh, it’s time to meet Arsh from Shopify Plus” rather than “sales rep #A4209 from Shopify Plus”.

How I’ve been more human in the selling process:

  1. Calendar Invite

I make a dedicated effort to add my name to the meeting invite I have with leads. The structure is “meeting topic with Arsh”. By seeing my name frequently, the hope is they will remember the name and also attach personality traits to it. Building connections is how the brain is able to remember better.

2. Adding Humour to Emails

Most emails have the same structure, which is important since well-worded emails typically get a point across. However, each sales reps email likely will have the same structure. Adding emotion into the emails, can make you look less like a robot, and more relatable.

Adding humorous GIFs in email helps as well

3. Show you care

The holiday season is filled with emotion. It’s a time for reflection, joy, gratitude, and much more. This holiday season, I figured I should direct some of this emotion to my leads as well.

Last October, I went to a conference and received the Five Minute Journal in the swag bag. It’s a journal that asks the owner to write for five minutes each morning and night about what they’re grateful about. I figured it was a good gift, since the book itself was packed with positivity, and (added benefit) each time someone would write in it I would be tied in their subconscious to it.

So, I ordered several books, hand-wrote cards with my business cards attached inside (in case they wondered who this Arsh kid was), and mailed them around the world. It cost me less than $650 (CAD) to send this to my 17 most promising leads.

I’m sure the leads were surprised, and I got great responses back from the campaign.

This isn’t something that can only be done during the holidays. For example, if you know the lead just had a kid, send them a gift around that (Shopify sends branded baby onesies). It’s about understanding who the human is on the other side, just as much as you showcasing you’re human.

These are a few ways I’ve tried to showcase to my leads that I’m a real person with feelings and not just a selling machine. Trying to inject this into every part of the sales process helps, rather than just a rapport building conversation in your discovery calls.

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