A long time ago in a galaxy far away…
sales people held all the power.
That not being true for 2 decades now, how do sales people contribute to the buying process, beyond providing answers that they still try to keep secret until asked (is space available? What rates will you give me? What better rates can you give ME?)
More than ever! Sales people contribute more than they ever have and here is why:
1. Excellent sales people collaborate with their buyers to create customized solutions that ensure the buyer’s success.
“Find the pain” is so outdated! “Diagnose the pain” is so insulting implying that the buyer needs a sales person to uncover what is really important to him. Hmmpph!
Indispensable sales people today don’t just listen to qualify; they listen to learn. They ask questions based on their insights because they manage the situation that the buyer is in day in and day out for other buyers. And based on this buyer’s unique needs and specs, the professional sales person provides new insights and opportunities for the buyer. Together – the buyer’s part is speaking her truth about what she knows she already needs to be successful and the seller’s part is speaking her truth about what might work based on her experience and insights.
2. Excellent sales people save buyers time and effort increasing the buyer’s productivity.
Without doubt, anyone of us could spend the next week researching a topic and then there would be more. I JUST completed a White paper THIS MORNING and at lunch today, I read newer research that I could have included. With the overwhelming amount of information available, the search for knowledge is the new revolution. Sales people who can be trusted, who care about my success and can concisely curate the information for me are invaluable in the buying process.
3. Excellent sales people make buying effortless and risk-free.
Because of the gabillions of choices, making a decision – and feeling good about that decision – becomes more and more difficult. There was that famous pillow choice study (I can’t find it on google, but maybe you remember it) where luxury hotels provided Pillow Butlers to bring you your choice of pillow. (You could choose from lavender scented pillows, flax seed, foam, down, etc.) What happened was that customer service scores went up while customer satisfaction scores went down. Guests loved the idea of choice but then tossed and turned all night wondering if they made the right one.
With so much possibility, we second guess our decisions – a more complex version of buyer’s remorse – questioning our decision even before we make it and blaming ourselves for foolish (yet well-researched!) choices.
And there’s more! Moving from a tried and true solution to a new one takes risk and effort usually beginning with educating the sales person about needs, expectations etc. Even if the best result isn’t the outcome, by sticking with the comfortable, the buyer saves time and effort. They want to do the very best job but there are just so many hours in a day.
Sales people that sell more than their counterparts understand the need for buyers to have confidence in their choices. They create an effortless buying experience and help buyers feel wise – safe and smart – making their decision. This, as they say, is priceless.
A well-trained sales team – a team that isn’t aggressive or schooled in old school mannerisms – holds the buyer’s hand and massages it, starting from the very first communication. Smart sales people have never been more powerful or important to buyers.