Looking at your company, your capabilities, and your offered value from a buyer’s perspective is a totally different and unexpected world for many salespeople. You would see no immediate groundbreaking differences from your competitors and fewer reasons to meet with you, because of the lacking value in your traditional sales approach. You start to understand why buyers prefer to do research, mostly on their own, and prefer seeking peer advice than, another meeting with a salesperson. Not meeting with salespeople will save them time and they prefer to use that time to focus on what is really bothering them: How to thrive in a complex world full of changes and challenges. As a buyer, the last thing you would like to find out is, that your business is being disrupted by something you do not understand or saw too late coming. Their focus makes sense: It is better to be the disrupter than the disrupted.
What buyers tell us, as salespeople, is: “Why don’t you start helping me with what we, as a business focus on, instead of torturing me to follow your sales process? And by the way, all my responses to your current discovery questions are to your benefit, not mine”. Cian McLoughlin, a guru in win/loss analysis interviewed many B2B customers exactly for that reason. Their responses and message to salespeople are wake-up calls, one by one. They say:
- Past sales methods are no longer of value
- We aren’t buying what you are selling
- We are buying you, your insights, and your stories
They also shared what, in their view, salespeople they bought from, did so well:
- They took the time to listen
- They challenged them
- They pointed out risks, that they did not see before
- They disrupted their thinking
What buyers want from us is new and different. Not adapting to their new needs would lead to them disrupting us. We would be The Disrupted and out of the job. And for the customer, they would do what dissatisfied and disgruntled customers always do: Without telling us, they would just go somewhere or to someone else.
In comparison to “solution selling” we need to adapt to “disruptive selling”. Where the dialogue is not focused on exploring needs but more about teaching and challenging. We should be less focused on designing customer solutions but instead, on being seen as someone who has ideas and insights, that can help with business strategic advancements. Rather than being too late in the buying process and work on RFPs, we should be the ones who start a buyer’s process. The value we offer is different, it is not price, and also not solutions, but game-changing value during customer meetings: You. Value your customers would like to buy because they need it in helping them with being the disrupter rather than the disrupted.
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