I am amazed at how many salespeople and their sales managers inherently understand the new buying process when they buy a product or service for themselves but insist that somehow the process is different for the business they run. They continue to sell using the old rules.
In the month since the new paperback edition of my book The New Rules of Sales and Service: How to Use Agile Selling, Real-Time Customer Engagement, Big Data, Content, and Storytelling to Grow Your Business released, I have had a bunch of conversations with people about this — they read this blog and reach out to me or have attended one of my presentations and catch me after the talk.
The confide in me to say that they know the new rules are the way to go but that the company they work for still practices traditional cold calling and hard sell techniques. They tell me that their bosses say that their market is different.
Even though the sales manager will go to Google and social networks to buy, say, a new set of golf clubs or book a hotel room, they continue to think that in their market this buying process does not apply to them.
Time to make a sales strategy switch
Buyers are in charge of relationships with companies they choose to do business with.
Today it’s up to customers when they want to engage a salesperson. If I’m interested in buying something, I go to the web, I go to Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn, and I ask my friends and colleagues and family members for advice. I go to a half-dozen websites and do research. Tht’s true for B2B products and services as well as consumer goods.
When I’m finally good and ready and I’ve built up my body of knowledge, I reach out, typically electronically through email, and say, “Hey, I’m interested to go to the next step,” and almost always the salesperson who calls me assumes I know nothing. Most organizations are still using traditional selling and service models that were developed decades ago. This needs to change, or your organization will suffer.
Smart companies understand this new world and build a buying process around the realities of independent research. Instead of selling, they educate through online content. Instead of ignoring those who have already made a purchase, they deliver information at precisely the moment customers need it.