Have you been sold something recently? What was your sales experience? Would you buy from that Salesperson or Company again? Did you feel like you knew more about the Product/Service than the Salesperson? I don’t know about you, but in my experience, 9 out of 10 times I was better informed and had more knowledge about what I was buying than the Salesperson tasked with selling that product or service to me.
Interestingly, my experience was not restricted to consumer products and services but seemed to be the new norm even in “complex” or “enterprise” sales situations as well. The new reality in sales, be it consumer or enterprise is that the buyer/customer:
- Knows exactly what they want (or has a pretty damn good idea of what they need)
- Is very knowledgeable about the specific features and functionalities of the product/service (often well versed on the specific merits of your offering vis-a-vis the competition easily gleaned from online reviews, analyst reports, and good old word-of-mouth recommendations)
- Has a good understanding of the associated costs and price of the product/service (this is why the “special price” you quote them often doesn’t elicit the expected buyer response)
- Resents being “pushed” and “shoved” into a “sale” (not sure why this tactic continues to be practiced and adopted by so many “sales professionals”)
- No longer sees the Salesperson as the fount of all buying wisdom!
Unfortunately, a majority of today’s companies (I am intentionally excluding those companies that have adopted “as-a-service” or “on-demand” business models from this equation) have not innovated on how they sell. In my experience, the Sales Engines they have in place are so antiquated that I am often surprised that CEOs, Investors, VCs and Board Members don’t pay more attention to overhauling them. How people buy has dramatically changed in the last 10 years, yet Sales Engines of many companies still lumber on using assumptions, techniques, methodologies, and practices that were from an altogether different era!
What today’s buyers/customers need are not people tasked with selling to them, they need Buyer Facilitators — people genuinely interested and incentivized to help them buy only products/services they need or want.
Companies that understand and actively cater to this new reality will integrate their marketing and “sales” staff to provide buyers/customers with a seamless experience. Their Buyer Facilitators will spend less time “hunting” and “farming” potential prospects and more time learning to build rapport with potential buyers by honing their communication skills. Isn’t it time you took a hard look at your Sales Engine?