A couple of years ago, a well know magazine in the world of sales made the statement that the role of selling is dead. This became the buzz in the sales training community. Some even proclaimed that the volume of direct sales representatives would eventually be reduce to 10% of the marketplace in the next 10 years. What was happening? Digital. that's what. Buyers no longer need to hear the product pitch or faint promises anymore. Buyers today do their own research, and when THEY are ready to buy, they simply call the product or service vendor that is most appealing and tell them what they are prepared to pay. No negotiations. No beauty contest. No pilot project to prove the value. Just give us THIS price.
Is that realy what is happening? Well, if you're a Xeox photocopier sales rep. it certainly is. Because product selling is dead. SO what about SOLUTION SELLING? What's that all about? More recent conversations suggest that seller must offer a "solution" that wraps a number of things together, and along the sales process, fill in the white spaces with stuff ( I call it filler) to round out the deal and make some margin. Say what ?
I recently attended a Marketing round table session with a panel of technology industry marketing experts from several Tier 1 vendors. While this was a "marketing" discussion and not a "sales" discussion, I was honestly shocked by the lack of insight these proponents were sharing. They all pretty much agreed that there was a big problem and that their "Customer" was in their mind their Sales division. You heard this.. I could barely contain myself when I heard statements that "our job is to listen to the market and report to management how we are doing, how many leads we generated from the last trade show..." some even suggested that the control was not in their hands as they now had to rely on digital spinners in corporate.
Ok, yes the world is changing, but is your marketing or sales team adapting to this change in the Age of the Buyer? If not, there is still hope. (yes I know hope is not a strategy) There is some very sound thinking that has been sales model training maturing in the last two years as a result ofresearch conducted in the most recent economic downturn that started in 2008 - 2001. During that time, there were a number of very successful companies keeping up, in spite of the depressed buying in the market. After conducting some 6,000 interviews, they identified a number of patterns that represented the sales rep that were performing versus the one who were not.
The research concluded that outstanding sales performance and overall business success in the tough economy was attributed to those sales personalities that "CHALLENGED" their buyers' thinking and expectations.
I encourage you to pick up the book and contact me with your thoughts. I am personally aware of two close associates that are working on transforming their entire sales model adopting the Challenger model. These are monster brands who recognize they too much change.
Care to learn more. watch this video, buy the book and when you're ready, call us. We will test you who those companies are and why they are making hte change.. you will want to know.