There are more opinions, more books, more articles and more blogs about selling than almost any other business topic. When I Google effective selling I get over 45,700,000 results!
So where does a business owner turn if they are looking for help to improve their sales results?
The fact that you’re reading this blog is a positive step. I have spent the last 35 years involved in all levels of sales and marketing. I have knocked on doors, led multi-national sales teams, and have been exposed to most of the top sales training and sales experts available. I am saying this not to brag but to put into perspective my next statement:
What worked in the past is not what works today and won’t work in the future!
Traditionally in sales the seller was in control and information was presented to the buyer on a need-to-know basis. However the world has changed dramatically in the last few years and one of the most drastic changes is our access to information. Not only is there more available but also access to it through smartphones, tablets and laptops is convenient and fast. The days of a buyer needing a salesperson to educate them and even to solve problems are long gone. In many cases buyers know as much or more about a company’s products & services as the salesperson trying to make the sale.
In his book ‘To Sell is Human”, Daniel H. Pink describes this shift in the balance of power as the movement from a world of caveat emptor, buyer beware to one of caveat venditor, seller beware.
In this new environment the quantum leap that companies and salespeople need to make is to change from ‘selling to the customer’ to ‘helping the customer make the right buying decision’. Combined with this is a requirement to move from managing the selling cycle to understanding and managing the buying cycle.
By focusing on the buyer and helping them make the best possible purchase, the change needed in the selling process is more attitudinal than fundamental.
- It is less about manipulation (e.g. learning 100 closing techniques) and more about becoming a true trusted advisor.
- It is about becoming an expert on your products and services so you can make confident recommendations, building on customers’ own knowledge and even confirming when your product or service is not the right choice for them.
- It is about becoming an expert on the prospects you are selling to and providing insight into challenges they may not even know they have.
- It is about honesty, fairness and transparency.
The good news is that you don’t need to throw out what you know about sales. You simply need to apply it differently.
Make sure you are working with a coach, consultant or trainer that understands how selling has changed so that you are not left behind by your competition.
I will be providing further insights on how to make this adjustment on my blog at Academy4Bizl.com/blog . In the meantime, I would highly recommend you read To Sell is Human by Daniel H. Pink and an article at Harvard Business Review The End of Solution Sales by Brent Adamson, Matthew Dixon and Nicholas Toman.
Our guest blogger this week is Chuck Mitchell – Biz Coach, Author, and one of Canada’s leading experts in changing good results to GREAT results! He specializes in helping Business Owners, Executives and Sales Teams that want more, know they have the potential for more and are prepared to both work harder and smarter to achieve more. For more information visit his website at Academy4Biz.com or check out his LinkedIn profile at ca.linkedin.com/in/bizcoachchuckmitchell/