Salespeople, going through the transformation of becoming a Trusted Advisor, are learning new skills, a new mindset & a new perspective about the buyer and seller relationship. In addition, their successful traditional sales process is now challenged to become more aligned with the buyer’s process. Although in sales we always said “the customer is king”, you are now required to think like the king, what they are going through – their business goals and challenges. You are asked to lead with insights and help stakeholders to see a new perspective on their challenges.
For many salesmen and saleswomen, change is not easy, in particular when it comes to changing your habits: what you need to do now in selling is so different from before:
- Your preparation
- Your approach
- Your stakeholders
- Your way of closing deals
In the new way of selling you should have moved on from solution selling. Reviewing the 150+ sales blogs I wrote since the start of my own new way of selling journey, I realize that there are many new terms and phrases that did not exist even five years ago and I appreciate that this must, at times, be confusing for aspiring Trusted Advisors. Isn’t there a way to simplify all this?
For that, it is always helpful to understand why we need to change. What has caused the need for a new way of selling? It is time to see the forest from the trees.
I wonder which One Word or Phrase would come up in a ‘Slido Word Cloud’ exercise in answering the question: ‘what has caused us in Sales to change so that buyers perceive us again as valuable business partners’? What would it be? How would you describe in one word or phrase what has triggered all these changes on the seller’s and the buyer’s side? Is it: Buying has changed – Buyers have changed – Insight Selling – Increasing number of Stakeholders – or the rise of eCommerce?
In my view, the answer to that is:
THE POWER SHIFT OF INFORMATION
Going back to the beginning of this millennium, or back even further if you want to – I know some of you were not in a sales job as yet – salespeople had all the power of information. They knew all the products specs and benefits these could bring to the buyer, who was lesser informed and didn’t have access to alternatives. Over time with the help of globalization, more competitors entered the market and hence more options became available to buyers, who in turn increased their knowledge about what separated one supplier over the other. Salespeople shifted up a few gears through a consultative approach uncovering pain points and dissatisfaction and selling their solutions. Then came the internet which shifted the power of information definitely to the buyer. Any information about suppliers and their range of products and services are available at their fingertips. Bringing us to where we are now, often struggling to find ways to make a difference.
Selling has always been an art and science of how to make things unequal. Now, it seems it is the buyer’s turn to make things unequal, asking you to sharpen your pencil. They have the power of information. Selling in the traditional way is not sparking their interest and before you know your proposed solution is part of a procurement spreadsheet. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
The new way of selling is shifting the power of information back to the seller. And you can do this. Although it appears that it is a buyer’s world, the opposite is true: Buying has become more complex and they need your help. What information do you have that your customer has overlooked, couldn’t know or not even been thinking about? That information is interconnecting your knowledge with the buyer’s challenges. And they are hungry for more. Help them to see the forest from the trees.