Mike, the hero in my New Year’s post, came back to me with a very positive message: “Thanks, Ton; in a recent opportunity with one of my prospects, I have focused on Why Change? and Change to What? conversations before jumping to why the customer should give the business to me, and… I won my first big order for the year. A big one, which I would not have won following my old way of selling”.
Mike’s feedback (thanks, Mike!) is loud and clear:
The old way of selling is hurting your income.
There are a number of statistics that demonstrate the need for a new way of selling, including:
- Only 27% of B2B decision-makers said they were “very satisfied” with the way vendors were selling to them
- 71% of buyers don’t want to talk to reps (Forrester Research)
- 60% of customers have switched to a competitor because a salesperson was indifferent or provided poor service (Accenture).
- 59% of buyers prefer to do their own research because sales reps “push a sales agenda” rather than helping them (Gartner).
- Only 29% of buyers want to learn more about products by talking to salespeople.
These statistics suggest that traditional selling methods are not resonating with customers and that a new approach is needed to better meet the needs and preferences of today’s buyers.
What does Selling with the Buyer’s Perspective really mean if you are new to this? What is so different? Here are some blog posts I recommend reading:
- Have you moved on from Solution Selling?
- Business is the language of the new way of selling
- Who should make the discovery anyway?
And to test yourself where you are in your journey of the new way of selling and becoming a Trusted Advisor to your customers, take on the below challenges:
I can hear you thinking; What’s in it for me? If I am successful now, why go through all the effort of learning something new? Well, here is something you need to consider: the above statistics will not reverse, but the contrary is more likely to happen. Salespeople are driven out of their profession. Buyers make decisions on their own. They don’t see salespeople as valuable as before. That is if you accept this as your new status quo. WIFM? You are at risk of not changing. Your job is at risk.
Read, Learn, Apply
No more prolonging. As one of my colleagues, Leendert van Delft always says: Read a Little, Learn a Little. I would add to that Apply a Little. You don’t have to be perfect tomorrow, but challenge yourself to sell differently with progress every day, even if it is marginal.
Sales Leaders need to ask themselves, is it worth the time? You may think: I have targets to meet, and sales training is only slowing me down. Fair enough, change is not easy and transformation takes time, but on the other hand, think about the return on investment. Incremental changes in behaviour turn into incremental winning of opportunities and more loyal customers. Why? Because customers change not because of a better price, but because of a firm belief that a change is helping their top and bottom line.
I recommend you, lead from the front. Spend 70% of your time coaching on the floor and in the field. Coach on the new way of selling. Give motivational and developmental feedback every day. Your sales teams need you.
You got to have a plan as a frontline salesperson and as a sales leader. Write your own plan now; What would you like to do differently next week? Set yourself goals like:
- Week One: Read three chapters of Selling Will Never Be The Same Again AND discuss this as a team
- Plan one hour with the team to discuss and hear each other’s learnings; what are the top three things you will do the following week differently?
- Week Two: Pick your favourite sales Blogs, and share these with your immediate colleagues. Challenge each other in the next team meeting. What new way of selling behaviour are you applying well? With which ones are you struggling and why. learn from each other.
- Week Three: Repeat week one with the following chapters
- Week Four; Work with a buddy on a customer opportunity. What is your business case for change? What insights have you used? Share these at your team meeting.
Together Each Achieves More. Stick to having a plan. Be creative. No one is alone. Lead, drive and inspire the new way of selling transformation. I know you are super motivated because…the old way of selling is hurting your income.