We all know the type. The smarmy salesguy. The slick git finagling us into buying something we either don’t want or even need.
It’s a caricature used often in film and literature yet this classic portrayal is so far from the today’s reality, it’s become obsolete.
Pushy sales people are a thing of the past, as are the sales departments in the office trying to frantically close deals over the phone, or empty desks that belonged to a Mad Men-esque sales team out on the road, chasing meetings, shaking hands and slapping backs.
In the digital age, with hyper educated consumers, buying decisions are half made before a sales person even knows an opportunity exists. The sales cycle is all about closing the deal by assisting the customer by proving any and all information they need to establish a business case.
What’s changed? In the old days, like 10 years ago, the salesman was the keeper of all product and service knowledge. In order to make an informed buying decision, a customer had to utilize the only source available – the sales guy. Now all those facts and figures, along with reviews, white papers, product comparisons, customer testimonials, from the uber-granular to a pithy Tweet, are at the customer’s fingertips.
They form their own opinions and ultimately decide for themselves whether a product or service is right for them.
Not being pushed into an unwanted product anymore, the customer needs someone to seal the deal by answering any final questions, e.g. customization, price, terms etc.
It’s not the death of the traditional sales role, rather it’s a reboot. Due to technological advances, their jobs have been redefined to assisting buyers who have already done most of the hard work on their own.
The Death of the Hard Sell
Glenngarry Glenn Ross immortalized the hard-sell with, “first prize is a Cadillac El Dorado. Anyone wanna see second prize? Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you’re fired,” and “ABC – Always Be Closing.”
That doesn’t work anymore, because today’s customers are genuinely interested in the product or service because they’ve done their homework. They are looking for a partner to aid them in their final decision. Pitching isn’t dead, it just comes much later in the sales process, due to a much more informed consumer.
Content is King
Sales and marketing have never been closer as well crafted, useful content is what everyone is looking for. Having the correct inbound marketing strategy and an analytics system ensuring leads are getting precisely what they are looking for. The salesmen’s job is to provide them with any additional information they require and then guide them through the closing process.
We here at NEWT are in the business of selling business phone systems and data connections. Over the past year we’ve completely revamped how we sell to our customers focusing almost entirely on providing them with the material they need to build a business case to purchase one of our products or services.
Due to this transition, our leads are way up and we are setting new sales records every month.
Legendary businessman Sy Sims said it years ago, “An educated consumer is our best customer.” He was selling suits, we’re selling phones, but it’s true all the same.