When we are looking to buy, we want to learn as much as we can and make a good decision. If a salesperson can help, we tolerate them. But if we’re able to learn and compare options on our own, online, we aren’t clamoring to talk with multiple sales reps.
Does this mean customers don’t need salespeople anymore? In more and more instances, the answer is “Yes.” But that doesn’t have to be the case.
Brent Adamson and Matthew Dixon, co-authors of the book The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation, emphasize that salespeople can survive and even thrive if they are willing to change their approach. Here are five ways salespeople can change the game:
- Evaluate Prospects Differently: Look for potential customers who can act quickly and decisively. Reduce time spent on prospects that are tied up in organizational hierarchies and have to sell through multiple layers.
- Focus on Mobilizers, Not Advocates: Adamson and Dixon’s research showed average sales reps typically connect with Talkers, prospects who are accessible, willing to share their organization’s latest gossip, like to network and are focused primarily on personal gain. Mobilizers, on the other hand, are constantly looking for good ideas, passionate about sharing insights and will push back throughout the process. Star sales reps–peak performers–spend most of their time on Mobilizers.
- Discover Emerging Needs: Average reps ask questions about current needs. Star performers work to find an emerging need and focus on what the prospect should do to change the game in the future.
- Challenge Prospects with Provocative Ideas: Rather than using the same feature/benefit presentation as the competition, top salespeople challenge prospects to think about big ideas that can make a huge, lasting impact.
- Coach Rather Than Sell: Top salespeople realize prospects have done research and heard from a bunch of salespeople. Spending time on closing techniques isn’t as valuable as teaching them how to buy. Coach them on how to steer the idea through the organization. Help them overcome objections from others in their company.
You can keep doing what you’re doing and see how that turns out. Or you could work with customers who want to hear your ideas. Wouldn’t it be great to be needed?