Fact: Today’s business buyers are increasingly self-directed: 60% prefer not to interact with a sales rep as the primary source of information; 68% prefer to research on their own, online; and 62% say they can now develop selection criteria or finalize a vendor list — based solely on digital content.
These percentages are naturally depending on the business complexity; nevertheless, these are clear warnings that our sales time in front of customers and potential customers is decreasing. As a sales professional, you need to make sure to be super effective when you are at the prospect’s table. See yourself through the glasses of your prospective buyer. He or she is probably not waiting for you to talk about why your product or service or solution is markedly better than your competitors. You also don’t help by providing them with the information they can find on a website. And showing a slide deck that screams “why you?” will not create value for your potential customer.
What, then, does your potential buyer have to go on when deciding whether to buy from you, stay with the current supplier or give the “other competitors” a chance? What do you need to do to increase your selling time at your prospect’s table?
The winners at the prospect’s table are not self-orientated. They are not beginning a conversation by talking about their company, their products and services, their global footprint, and the big-name logos they serve. Instead, they focus on the situation of the prospective customer and lead to their best knowledge with insights and ideas about why the prospect needs to change; changing to a better situation that leads to more success for the prospect’s business.
They focus on providing information that buyers most need but least likely to find on their own. By doing so they show they are experts in their field. And in the buyer’s eyes a person worth knowing.
But prospects look at more aspects than that. They meet you for the first time and have spent limited time with you. In these moments they make quick decisions whether or not you can be trusted to have their interest as a priority and not a quick sale. The number of buyers on the buying team has risen and these buyers are from a wider range of disciplines (6.8 people per buying team on average – Harvard Business Review). So, within one call or one visit, the prospect decides whether you are going to be acceptable or inspiring to the people you are going to interact with inside their company.
Lastly, not every contact in the prospective buying team has the luxury of connecting frequently and sharing ideas with peer groups outside their company. They cannot peak around the corner of their competitors. You are not expected to share company secrets but they are looking at you as a person who does have a lot of experience with similar businesses like themselves, with similar challenges. Top salespersons use that experience and turn them into stories, inspiring prospects to see their situation and challenge from a different perspective.
The highlighted text in this blog summarizes the skills and profile of the new type of salespeople who will get the most selling time at the prospect’s table.
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