I frequently ask senior leaders and owners of client firms how they prefer to buy or be sold.
I ask them questions like 1) How do you feel when you pick up your phone only to find it is a salesperson on the line and do you respond favorably to their call? 2) How do you respond to strong closing tactics? 3) How do you like it when sales people are aggressive and use obvious sales “moves” to try and keep you in the sales process? And other similar types of questions.
Once we have the answers to those questions we look at how their sales team is approaching their prospects. What do you suppose we find in most cases? That’s right, many business owners and senior leaders wouldn’t want to buy from their own sellers using the approaches and tactics that are being taught and employed.
The way we prefer to BUY has changed greatly yet the way we SELL too often has not kept pace. “Salesy” tactics and sales processes just don’t work that well anymore.
It’s as simple as this, if you set off prospects “sales person alerts” by anything you do, say, or ask, you are probably on your way to joining the dinosaurs in the extinct category. We love to buy but we hate to be “sold.”
Daniel Pink answers the “so what, now what” of this dilemma in just the title alone of his last book, “To Sell Is Human”. We want to buy from other human beings that are employing “life skill based” communication and relationship skills which allow us to discover for ourselves if their products and services are the best fit, then stay out of the way as we buy them.
If only it were as simple as it sounds! It is hard for some firms to move away from the “ABC” approach to selling because it still works often enough to justify its existence. It just works less frequently with every passing day and even when legacy tactics DO work, you may not starting a business relationship on ideal footing.
My challenge to you? Ask yourself the questions I posed above and apply the comparison to your sales team. If you don’t like what you see it is probably time to get some help with training your sellers on a more “human” approach to the sales process.