My son came to me the other day saying, ” Papa, I don’t need a piano tutor anymore. The lessons are kind of boring, and I found piano applications on the internet much more interesting”. He showed me what he meant by that. I watched him opening an App, and before I realised what was going on, he was literally playing the piano on his laptop. There was no piano keyboard; instead, his fingers were dancing over the laptop keys from A to Z. He was following visuals pointing to what keys to hit. To my surprise, it sounded fantastic. He explained that the App, in addition to playing songs of your choice, it also guided you to learn the skills of melody and rhythm. By the look of it, piano tutoring has a new Competitor. Hey… This may soon disrupt this traditional industry. If I were a piano tutor, I would be worried.
Piano tutors should ask themselves: How can they get the interest of their students back? What value can they deliver at a tuition lesson that the piano App cannot? Can they adapt? How can they encourage their students, for example, to use these Apps in addition to piano lessons and even improve with their help?
Translate this story to your situation as a salesperson:
Research shows that Buyers increasingly prefer rep-free purchases. This is partly caused by having online access to research, insights and solution information. But also because of their perceived inability of sellers to align with Customer business challenges and bring useful insights to the table. Customers find that Sellers often push their own agenda instead of theirs. This perception decreases trust, authenticity and supplier credibility. Like aspiring piano students, Buyers see increasingly fewer reasons to meet with you.
So, as a Seller, you need to find ways to become more valuable to your customers so that they want to meet with you rather than spending time on their laptops searching for ideas, insights and solutions.
Equip yourself with new skills to make the conversation interesting for your Customer. Show them that you understand what’s going on in their world, their challenges and how you can help with bringing different perspectives. Constantly ask yourself, what value can you add? What does the customer not know and will add value? Then you build trust, and your customer is ready to listen to your advice.
Spend time learning these new skills. Be open to being coached on them. Read, research, and improve your business acumen. If you are not, you are at risk of being disrupted, and then you should be worried.