As almost everything in life, the art of selling changes on a regular basis. In my 43 years in sales, I’ve seen massive changes occur in the way sales are conducted. If a salesperson doesn’t keep pace with the changes, it almost certainly means that a reduction in sales and income will follow shortly.
One of the most important changes that has taken place is in the way we must approach the sale, if we want people buy from us today, versus 40 years ago. Not so long ago, selling was all about getting the prospect to do what we wanted them to do, rather than discovering and evaluating the prospect’s needs and showing them how our product or service could meet those needs. Even more unfortunate is the fact that some people are still in the 1973 sales mode of “doing presentations”, “closing” and “overcoming or handling objections”. I would suggest to you that sales have evolved into the era of having sales conversations, asking for the sale and answering objections.
The fine art of conversation has, I fear, been eclipsed somewhat by posting on Facebook, tweeting, texting and emailing. Those are all viable marketing tools, and I believe that selling effectively on an on-going basis requires more… having real conversations with our prospects.
That’s not the same thing as a formal presentation, where we have charts and graphs and tell the prospect everything we know about our product or service and then close them by browbeating or arguing or shaming them into buying. Buyers are too sophisticated nowadays to put up with that.
It’s about having a conversation. That implies that two people are taking turns speaking. We become partners with our prospects in solving their problems and helping them get what they want and need. We spend more time asking our prospects questions about how they feel and what they think and what they want and need than we do telling them about ourselves, our company our products and our services. It means focusing on what’s best for our prospect and not on getting our prospect to do what we want them to do so we can make a sale and earn a commission.
Yes, things have changed in the sales world! Have you changed with them?
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