Jeffrey Gitomer is a prolific NY Times best selling author, columnist, speaker, trainer, and sales leader. His title is CES, Chief Executive Salesman. He exudes sales optimism. His understanding of sales today combines with his vision of sales tomorrow to guide and inspire. Even over the phone he projects bigger than life and his insights I promise you will get you thinking.
Jeffrey has a deep understanding of the perils salespeople face thanks to the internet. At the same time he delivers clear directives on how to succeed in a world where sales in a number of industries will be lost to the “BUY NOW” button. He has his finger on the pulse of sales and his eye on the future which clearly is just around the corner.
In our conversation, Jeffrey first focused on some of the problems that are leading salespeople to lose deals to competitors or to the dreaded no decision. He pointed to salespeople who still think that it is their job to quality customers when in fact customers are qualifying them or who think they can sell by identifying the customer’s pain.
While there can be collaboration between salespeople and on-line buyers for example, with a salesperson who sells tickets to an event who brings value with advice about seating and so on, Jeffrey sees the B2B market as pretty much over. As for brick and mortar stores, one hope he sees for them is to adopt a Zappos orientation and put kiosks in the stores. He cites the success of Amazon as proof. To drive the point home about retail sales, in a recent speech to real estate agents he raised the specter of Google listing homes.
The sales that won’t go the way of the internet will be sales in which customers require customized and personalized solutions. These are the high end sales where customers require senior level expertise, insights, ideas, and strategic advice to grow their businesses. For example, customers buying new computer systems for their companies care about ideas, ease of use, and installation and what is around the corner over and above picking out servers, desk tops, tablets, or price. Jeffrey is confident that salespeople who sell anything that must be customized and personalized are pretty much assured of a job—if they can deliver the value customers want.
We know that the computer and e-marketing are here to stay. His question is, How will someone make buying so sophisticated that any customer can get anything he or she wants any time of the day or night with the click of the infamous Buy Now button?
So what can you as a salesperson do to win in this fast changing environment in which the internet is a major player?
Jeffrey offered three pull no punches strategies:
- Don’t count on any particular system of selling. He warns salespeople who count on a traditional sales methodology in which they probe for things they could have Googled or who try to find their customers’ pain or qualify customers, that they are ‘’dead ducks” and he suggests “they learn a new trade”. Instead he advises you to walk in with deeper pre-call research, ideas, and insights. Your customers care about only one thing: how they can produce and profit more after they take ownership. His mantra is “Customers don’t want to be sold but they love to buy.” and he sees this as pervasive in the new sales world.
- Be socially relevant. Don’t simply become socially savvy. Become socially dominant. Apart from your company, establish your own brand. Your customers are not buying your company. They are buying you! Jeffrey underscored that first sale that is made is the salesperson him or herself. Your customers are checking you out on Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube to make sure you bring value. Additionally if you change jobs you take your brand with you. To Jeffrey “Resumes are dead.”
- Get recognized as an industry expert. Be perceived by your customers as a resource, not a salesperson. The question to ask yourself is “Are you inside helping the decision be made or outside on a bench waiting for the decision to be made?”
All of these things add up to one thing: YOU. That’s what it is all about. You may think you have a great reputation and relationship with a customer but when you lose on price, you have a price based relationship. Jeffrey feels it is the loyalty aspect of the relationship that must be dominant. Loyalty is the end product of value, reputation, brand, and expertise in your niche, resources, emotional connection and trust in you.
Jeffrey clearly sees the challenges ahead for the sales profession and right along side of that he sees opportunity to excel and win. He certainly merits his title, Chief Executive Salesman.
His advice, “Love what you do or get out of it. It takes loving what you do to rise to the top. If you believe in your heart you can help your customer, march in there and do it.”