In a changing world where for the buyer the available amount of digital information is overwhelming and hence making decisions more complex there is a need for a new breed of salespeople; Trusted Advisors.
These are not the typical selling stereotypes of pushy, fast-talking and tricking their customers into a sale as portrayed in old blockbuster movies. They are also not the Account Managers who do anything and everything to serve their customers, making sure that what they sold runs smoothly and upsell or cross-sell further products and services when an opportunity comes along. And they are also not the classic sales consultants asking endless questions in the hope the buyer reveals some ‘pain points’ somewhere along their supply chain they can use as a hook to sell their solution, which in turn is magically overcoming the customer problems. No, Trusted Advisors are salespeople in a different league; they are in a club of strategic thinkers, selling strategic value as a business outcome.
With that in mind, they see the business through the buyer’s eyes. In their preparation for meetings, they figure out what drives the customer’s business and what external and internal changes possibly may affect the company’s objectives. They work hard to acquire business acumen so they can talk business with their customers. Trusted Advisors are not industry experts but they know enough to understand where the customer’s challenges intersect with what they have to offer. They are able to elevate conversations to what matters to the buyer: how to increase revenue, reduce cost and increase profitability.
Trusted Advisors know, that other salespeople leading with products and services and their perfect company they represent will ultimately end up in a spreadsheet where features and advantages are line by line compared. In these situations, they may get the call from the buyer one day that their company is ready to change. Unfortunately, because the buyer does not see much difference, price becomes the differentiator.
Trusted Advisors approach selling differently. They may not always go directly to the C-level decision makers because they know that there are always more stakeholders involved in a buying process. And these other middle managers may just have the key to understand where and how they can help. They find a change champion amongst the stakeholders who they empower to drive the need for change. Together they create consensus between the involved stakeholders that doing nothing is a risk for the company and a change offers opportunities.
Every company wants to improve, to grow. How to do that seems to become more and more complex. Competition is fears and disruptors are on the look-out. Senior managers of companies are constantly talking about their next moves. But often it seems easier to stay where you are than to jump into something new. They do not want to talk to traditional salespeople. They want to talk to someone who understands their situation and helps them to figure out what makes sense. These salespeople who are trusted to have the buyer’s perspective in mind, come prepared to meetings with insightful information and can articulate what strategic value would be achieved when making a change – that new breed of salespeople is what buyers are looking for. Are you a Trusted Advisor?
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