Buyers Have Changed – Has Your Sales Approach Changed?
Sales Training Article: Buyers Have Changed. Has Your Sales Approach Changed?
By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company
It would be hard to disagree that today’s buyers:
- Leverage the Internet and social networking
- Bring sellers into buying cycles later than ever before
- Feel they know their requirements before talking to salespeople
If you agree, it begs the question: At an individual or enterprise level, how have you adapted so sellers better align with knowledgeable buyers? This can be critical to your success because with offerings being fairly equal, the seller providing a superior buying experience is likely to win the lion’s share of opportunities.
By making product information available electronically 24x7x365, vendors have given control to buyers. With the advent of social networking in gaining opinions about offerings and vendors from people they trust, buyers can make a “short list” of vendors without talking to sellers.
Knowledgeable buyers that contact salespeople selling offerings to enterprises share many of the following attributes in that they:
1. Are mid-level or lower
2. Have a list of features they feel are needed and want to share them with the seller
3. Want to know pricing fairly early in the sales process
4. Don’t want to hear any seller “hype”
5. Don’t want to feel they are being “sold”
In my mind, the most important item is the last one. Knowledgeable buyers will feel as though they are being sold as soon as a seller tries to change the requirements list. Before contacting a seller the buyer has been in control. They are reluctant to cede control to the seller.
In the clear light of day, if your offering is complex and involves services, integration with other products or touches several parts of an organization, it is highly unlikely the buyer has a complete list of requirements. Therefore it is likely there are capabilities that are missing. Beyond that, they may have requirements that aren’t valid.
Traditional selling approaches (leading with features that aren’t on the buyer’s list) will immediately conflict with the way buyers want to be treated. In my next blog, I’ll discuss a recommended way to respond when a knowledgeable buyer says: “We’re going to migrate from our legacy software to a hosted CRM platform. Can you tell me all about your offering?”
Until my next post, I’d welcome your opinion about what you feel is the worst possible response sellers can make to that question.
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