Universal Truths for Sales with Shari Levitin [Episode 742]

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Shari Levitin, speaker and bestselling author of Heart and Sell: 10 Universal Truths Every Salesperson Needs to Know, joins me on this episode.


  • Shari used her sales consulting experiences to write a sales book that is a life book. Citing Brené Brown, Shari notes that who you are matters more than what you do.
  • Shari quotes David Brooks that we have resume virtues and eulogy virtues. The eulogy virtues make the difference in today’s digital environment. We need to do in sales what Alexa can’t do.
  • Shari defines “proven” principles. First, look at the source and filter the principle through your common sense and experience. Try changing one part of your method at a time. Does it work consistently for you?
  • Anything that can be told can be asked. When you ask a question, you get more information. Today, in sales, we have to help people learn how to buy, so we ask questions to get them to that buying decision.
  • Shari sees, from company to company, the same default behaviors that do not serve them well. Buyers do not always follow the same journey. Their needs vary. Sellers must learn behaviors that meet buyers’ needs.
  • How do we get people to change? Shari says, make it fun! She shares her four pillars of an effective sales training and coaching program: life-long learning, creative connection, facilitation, and ongoing coaching.
  • Shari and Andy agree that it’s necessary not only for a company to reward quota but also to reward a growth mindset of education. Shari’s company provides a budget for development.
  • One of Shari’s universal truths about sales is that trust begins with empathy. Harvard Business Review says that empathy and competency are the two most important components of influence, with empathy leading in importance.
  • Empathy gets you in the door; competency, reliability, and integrity keep you there. Those are four components of trust. Begin with empathy, not competency. People need to know you care about them and their concerns.
  • If you can diagnose your customer’s problem, you will be given the right to solve it. That begins with empathy and knowing your customers.
  • Empathy goes beyond cognition. It is an emotional connection. It is not sympathy but understanding.