Selling has been seen for too long as a skill of convincing others to buy something from you. Traditional sales books even compare this process as a power play where the seller skillfully uncovers a need or a dissatisfaction of the potential customer. Skilful salespersons made the buyer believe they should buy their product, regardless if they actually needed it or not.
But how things have changed. Buyers have turned the tables and are now calling the shots. They often have more information at hand than the seller due to the fact that they spend close to 50% of their time doing research. The time they allow themselves to meet with salespeople has reduced to just 15%. So, you need to get their interest in the first 5-10 min. , otherwise, you are dismissed – they have other things to do than being interrogated.
Your strategy can no longer be hoping for uncovering their needs, their pains, their problems or dissatisfaction. Have you moved on from Solution Selling? Buyers will see through what you are trying to do immediately, and it puts them off. Your approach should be different. Selling is helping, and a little push is needed to kick-start their buying process.
To get to that point, you need to have:
- A mindset to sell with the buyer’s perspective. You share the same goals.
- Business acumen that demonstrates you understand their business challenges.
- A “Selling is helping” attitude instead of “I know what you need, let me tell you”.
- An idea and opinion on how you can help
Your main job is the help your contact person build a compelling business case for change. No one will buy anything if there is no solid business case to change. Purchasing has transformed into a strategic source of competitive advantage. And with that in mind, the new generation of buyers are looking at you as someone who might have some advice. If you cannot contribute to that with valuable information that is new, insightful, and relevant to their business challenges, then you have wasted their time.
Kick-starting the buying process is no magic trick. Every customer wants to grow their business and hit profit targets. They just have a hard time figuring out their strategy to achieve these outcomes. Focus on how you can help. This can be a simple story about how you have helped other customers with similar challenges. Or risks you see for their business they have not seen before. There is no magic, but instead, a motivation to help businesses be more successful in ways they may not have thought about themselves. In the new way of selling, that motivation, these insights and ideas….they all need to come from YOU, as a Trusted Advisor, kick-starting their Buying Process.