Selling has changed the last 20 years.
This is not limited to professional “sales” titles. We all make attempts to move employees, bosses, customers, family members, and patients in a certain direction.
The act of articulating an idea that might help, receiving some sort of verbal or non-verbal objection, and playing with the give / take until a way forward is agreed upon is universal to nearly every interaction. Rare is the case that we completely agree from the outset.
The change: historically, generating sales had much to do with the gap of knowledge between salesperson and buyer, or messenger and recipient.
With this gap in knowledge, the salespeople could create confusion and fear. Manipulation, whether intentional or not, was easier because a potential customer (or anyone we attempted to draw towards our thinking) didn’t have endless information at their fingertips. Up until the last decade, at least to the masses, there wasn’t a good way to reconcile your soon-to-be decision to buy.
Today, sales roles have moved towards consultation. The knowledge gap between customer and salesperson is far smaller and/or that gap may not even exist. The “sales” role is more about helping a person do something they likely already knew they were supposed to do. It has nothing to do with new information or a bell and whistle.
Now, for the customer, it is not about access to information, but deciphering information. What’s important, what’s just noise, and who do I trust? These are the questions of today – and, everyone is a fingertip away from Google, texting a trusted colleague, or calling an old friend who has the same access.
Time constraints, lack of interest, data overload, emotional baggage – all contribute to people not making the right next step. Lack of knowledge is not one of them.
So, in walks the salesperson (again, this is nearly every one of our interactions) whose job is now threefold: 1) Be trustworthy 2) Decipher information and 3) Find what motivates a person to take the next step.
The job is not to convince. The job is to give and let go.
The job is not to flex a knowledge muscle. Ironically, the job is to unlearn a lot together.
The job is not to hound. The job is to figure out what stands in a person’s way.
We are all in the sale’s dance. We are all more informed than we’ve ever been.
So, as we sell to customers, friends, family, and spouses, acknowledge the shrinking gap of knowledge across industries, relationships, generations, etc.
Now, more than ever, this is about being trustworthy, deciphering information, and determining if motivating factors even exist.
The pressure is off to know it all, and the pressure is on to give control to the buyer.
Thanks for reading,