Here are some interesting statistics you may or may not have read before.
- 57% of the typical purchase is made before a customer talks to a supplier – 2011, Corporate Executive Board
- SiriusDecisions reports that 70% of the buying process in a complex sale is already complete before prospects are willing to engage with a salesperson
- Two-thirds to 90% of the buying cycle is completed before a B2B buyer ever speaks with a sales rep. – Forrester
- Business buyers spend just 21% of buying cycle in conversations with salespeople while spending 23% of the time in conversations with peers and colleagues and 56% of the buying cycle searching for and engaging with content – IDG Connect
And if this is not enough
- More than half of the B2B buyers report that salespeople are not prepared for the first meeting
- 75% of buyers feel that they are a step ahead of salespeople
The bottom line: customers are motivated to take more of the buying process themselves. Partly due to information being more readily available and because far too many salespeople are not adding any value the buyer is looking for during their conversations. They think salespeople are wasting their time.
To survive and thrive as a salesperson now and in the future, you must know and adapt to the new world of how customers buy. You need to add value, you need to come to the table with the 40% insights (roughly, according to the above researches) the buyers do not know.
Effective salespeople need to know what content to use during customer conversations. And be aware that you cannot do a fully consultative approach because the buyer has figured out about their needs and possible solutions more than ever before they talk with you.
So, what to do?
Well, again there is no silver bullet, you cannot point fingers to anyone and in the end, it is all up to you; are you going to be part of the best? Will prospects asking you to come back after the first meeting? Will you stay in your job?
The underlying message is that you got to change. Most likely changing the habit the way you sell. And as you probably know changing habits is hard. Instead of listing 10+ things to do to help you with changing I suggest you concentrate on one. Yes, one. Focus on changing your mindset. From now on, as preparation for every sales meeting, put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Look at the world through their glasses. What do you see?
You don’t see an opportunity in a certain pipeline stage. You don’t see an attached value to it and you certainly don’t see a possible closing date. What you will see is a wish for a better world, outsmart the direct competitor, an increase in new customers, and revenue income. You see concerns on how to drive costs down. Managers responsible for the top and the bottom line of their company, direct and indirect, having team meetings around these wishes and concerns all the time. According to the above statistics, they are happy to meet with salespersons that understand their world and add value in the conversations, bringing new information, ideas, and insights that shine a whole new perspective on their situation. Are you one of them?
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