Transparency Sells Better Than Perfection with Todd Caponi of The Sales Melon on The Buyer Enablement Podcast

Have you ever had an idea you thought was original only to find out that at the exact same time there were a bunch of people with the exact same “original” idea right at the moment you had yours? That’s what happened to Josh on this episode of The Buyer Enablement Podcast with our guest Todd Caponi.

In 2017, two people had a great idea—a better way to drive revenue by leading on the buying experience and acknowledging the digital world buyers live in today.

Josh Fedie, the Founder of SalesReach, decided to start a SaaS company and a podcast.

Todd Caponi figured out through behavioral science research that for many B2B businesses there was a gap between the old way of sales and the on-demand, Amazon.com-like, world we live in now.

That idea went on to become the book that brought this podcast together. “The Transparency Sale” also led to founding The Sales Melon, a sales consulting firm headed by Todd Caponi.

Todd Caponi is the Author of “The Transparency Sale”

He is a multiple-time sales leader, author, and sales history nerd. He loves reading about behavioral science, gathering insights, and forming his own opinions to share with the rest of us.

When, Todd Caponi had the idea for his book, “The Transparency Sale: How Unexpected Honesty and Understanding the Buying Brain Can Transform Your Results” he was inspired by behavioral science research and some very interesting data.

He came across the study when he was the CRO at PowerReviews. There he partnered with expert researchers at the Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University.

Firstly, we all ready reviews—no surprise there.

Secondly, 82% of buyers read the negative reviews first.

Last but not least, a product with negative reviews actually sells better than a product with only positive reviews.

The study uncovered affirming data for Caponi’s review-based business model, but it got him thinking about other use cases for the study.

Here’s what to listen for on this episode of The Buyer Enablement Podcast with Todd Caponi:

  • First, how embracing transparency, even about bad reviews or limitations, can actually help you win more customers
  • Second, what real behavioral science research has shown us about the way we make buying decisions
  • Also, how to run your demo so you can leverage the most powerful aspect of the customer experience, setting expectations

Here’s where you can jump into the episode:

  • 03:20 – The real data that inspired the book “The Transparency Sale”
  • 07:00 – Your sales process should be “FLAWsome”
  • 10:35 – Qualify the deal out fast
  • 12:12 – The fourth differentiator is the way you sell
  • 18:05 – 3 things you can do to transform your sales process
  • 24:25 – Great customer experiences is about setting expectations
  • 28:35 – Carrying the sales experience over into service
  • 32:00 – How to run your demo to deliver on experience
  • 35:00 – Why behavioral science is so important to sales
  • 40:55 – Technology in sales: a story of destruction
  • 44:45 – How to use video for good, not evil, in sales
” You can differentiate on features, value delivery, and pricing—everyone does that’s why everyone looks the same. I’m a firm believer that you can create a fourth differentiator, and that’s the approach you take to the way you sell. ” — Todd Caponi

Negative reviews drove more sales, that was the aha-moment for Todd.

So Todd Caponi thought to himself, “Well, if that’s what a website does in an e-commerce scenario, what about in-person in the B2B world? And that’s when I found magic.”

Caponi tested his quandary in the field.

As a sales leader, he asked his team to try selling a little differently, to mirror what he knew worked online. He also published a few thought pieces online.

When his writing started to go a little viral online and he started to see amazing results in sales negotiations, he knew he was on to something and decided to take it a step further and get real data.

That early traction led to the book Caponi came on The Buyer Enablement Podcast to talk about. He shared with us more about what he means about using transparency in sales.

“Under promising and over-delivering actually works against you. It’s a lie. As salespeople, it’s our job to set proper expectations, the pro’s and the con’s, and consistently meet them. When we do—customers buy, stay, and tell their friends.” — Todd Caponi 

Buyers today have knowledge at their fingertips and most of their information gathering will routinely happen before you even walk through the door or get them on the phone.

Armed with information, their guard is up – and they are skeptical. That’s why buyer enablement is so important in sales, and transparency is key.

For Todd, the challenge for many sellers isn’t a mismatch of skills it’s incentives. The challenge of more information in the hands of the buyer means sellers need to radically change their approach.

Similar to what inbound marketing did to marketing organizations, transitioning from a broadcast model to an attraction model, sales organizations need to focus more on enabling buyers in the sales process as much as enabling their sellers.