Back before the Internet and social media, clients looked to salespeople for information—about our products and services, our companies, and our industries. Not so much anymore. With a quick Google search and a little time online, our buyers can gather tons of information without ever speaking to a salesperson.
Buyer 2.0 is very good at homework. In fact, 86 percent of business buyers engage in research independent of the sales cycle. Before they make contact with us, prospects have usually checked us out, compared pricing, read a white paper or two, listened to a webinar, and/or viewed a demo. They’ve also researched our competitors.
Does this mean our prospects and clients don’t really need us anymore—that the automation of selling has made salespeople irrelevant?
Tell Them Where It Hurts
Our prospects come to us with pain points—problems they need our help solving. They know it hurts, but they’re often unclear about exactly where the pain is coming from and how to make it stop.
This is where great salespeople can really make a difference. This is what we have to offer that the Internet can’t. We know our industries, our products, and (most importantly) our clients. So with a little investigating, we can help them find the right solutions for their business challenges.
Who’s in the Driver’s Seat?
Technology—and all the information it provides—has made our buyers a little arrogant. They know what they want (or, at least, think they do), so they want to drive the sales process.
The problem is that buyers don’t always know exactly what they need from us, or how to get it most efficiently and cost-effectively. They don’t know the traps to avoid and what doesn’t work. They usually don’t fully understand the commitment needed (from themselves and their teams) to implement solutions that guarantee knock-your-socks-off ROI. But we do.
It’s our job as smart, strategic sales pros to deliver value—real value. And our tech savvy won’t do that for us, nor will it give us a huge advantage over our competitors, who are probably using the same gadgets, gizmos, and applications.
Your most powerful deal-closing tool is still you—a living, breathing salesperson who can ask the right questions, apply years of experience and wisdom, and offer tailored solutions that make sense for each client.
Go ahead and let your client take the driver’s seat. Just make sure you’re there to navigate.