If we were to ask most buyers today about how they perceive sales professionals, I’m pretty sure we know what they’d say. But the question is why do they feel this way. Why does a cloud of mistrust hang over our profession?
It’s often said that the customer’s perception is reality. Perhaps it’s the final word. And therefore, the fundamental flaw in most sales organizations today is that we are too focused on the transaction.
I truly believe that sales professionals today have the moral obligation to help erase that reality. We must all work hard to ensure that our buyers never feel a sense of bias. Although helping them towards the close is our moral obligation (especially if we feel that our solution can benefit their life), it’s more important that they never feel that we have a self-serving agenda.
The way we do this matters. The customer can’t read our mind and therefore our actions need to do the talking for us.
Welcome To The New Selling Paradigm
Help and educate first before selling. Selling will be the natural by-product of educating and helping the buyer. And the more we hone our craft in this area, the greater our chance of success in the long-run. Especially in this digital age where choices are plenty and information is supreme, we must always function to serve the agenda of the buyer.
By shifting our focus slightly and impressing upon buyers our desire to help first, we can take the pressure off the entire transaction. Having frank, direct and brutally honest conversations can therefore be a great thing. It sets the level for all parties and increases the chances of the buyer becoming more transparent in the buying process.
Uncovering Opportunity & Educating with Social Media
One of the best ways for you to uncover opportunity is by asking the tough and hard questions. And really, your intention here is to understand the real pain point and triggers.
But, you can also keep your eyes and ears open to see what buyers are doing online. Listening on social media is an extremely powerful way to collect information to help advance yourself in any account. It doesn’t matter if the information isn’t directly from a decision maker; you can listen for clues from the company and even an entire industry.
Once you have this, you can educate on the pain points. Think about how contextual and relevant your outreach can be. Instead of selling blindly – which most of us do – you can now help directly to the pain points they’re experiencing.
The Bottom Line
So, instead of selling, helping in a way that’s relevant and contextual is going to be your greatest skill. I’m not saying anything revolutionary, am I? I think we all know this!
However, you’ve got a best friend out there that’s just dying to help you: digital and social tools like LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. Using tools like this to your advantage can truly help you focus and have very honest, direct and frank discussions with buyers.
No more guessing. When you don’t have the information, you’re in the dark.
I leave you with this quote from Seth Godin that captures the spirit of helping versus selling.