Last week I received a prospecting call from a salesperson of a consultancy firm aiming for my ok to a meet and greet. He immediately thought that I was interested in a meeting, because he referred to similar customers, like myself, who he has helped to solve pain-points with their solutions. And that should have motivated me to agree to an appointment. The moment he said that I felt a knot in my stomach. Here I am, preaching in my blogs that a new way of selling is needed, and at the same time, as a potential buyer, I am confronted with a salesperson from a well-established consultancy company still selling to me the same way as was done in the last thirty years, assuming and hoping I would have pain-points and dissatisfaction with my current suppliers.
Didn’t this salesperson follow the latest trends in B2B buying? How come he has not recognized yet that the most powerful competitor he is facing is actually not dissatisfaction with the prospective customer, but instead their status quo? In an increasingly risk-averse environment, as a buyer, if I am not absolutely convinced of the need to change, I am likely to decide to stick with what I already have.
For salespeople, the status quo bias, the buyer’s natural resistance to doing something different, is the biggest threat to their success.
To help the prospect’s moving out of their status quo you need to see any of their challenges from their perspective. In their world there is no need for change, everything is fine, in fact, change is seen more as a risk. Why would you move to the unknown if what you have is safe and good enough?
So, in the new way of selling, salespeople have a critical role in helping buyers to recognize that not changing is riskier than changing. In a firm, yet polite and respectful way you need to help the buyer to recognize that the costs and consequences of inaction may be higher than they initially thought.
Reaching that stage, the buyer is more motivated to listen to what else you bring to the table. The new generation of salespeople or Trusted Advisors do the above very well. They do not hope for customer’s pain-points to get their appointments or closing their deals. They talk business with their prospects, they talk about the risk of not changing and opportunities to gain when changing.
I told the salesperson on the call to get back to me when he has something to share with me that I not already know. Something insightful that makes me reflecting my current situation and trigger my thoughts if what I have is good enough. He said he will. I wonder when he will get back to me.