I read an article recently by Mark Cuban who said that if he lost everything, all his possessions and all his billions, he could be successful by doing two things.
First, he would take a job as a bartender at night to make some money to live, and second, he would take a job as a salesperson.
“Making a billion dollars is a bit of luck, but I believe I could make multi-millions,” he said.
Bottom line: the most rewarding and enriching profession out there is being a professional salesperson.
As Sales Professionals our world is changing because web capabilities are taking over so many of the sales functions.
The web is more and more being designed to co-opt our jobs, for goodness sakes – it’s absolutely necessary for us as sellers to add new skills and improve old ones that the web can’t do.
It seems that no matter what we’re selling, or what methods we’ve used for the past decades, most can’t seem to get much beyond a 10% close rate at best.
Let the internet take over that part of our job which it can, providing “information” about products and services. In other words, the information platform exists on the web; prospects don’t need us for that anymore or certainly not to the previous extent. No, our new role is different, we’ve got to become Respected and Trusted Advisors by understanding what they’re looking to do and why it is important to them.
This is of course easy to say but what does it really mean, and how does one make the conversion to this new way of doing business? How can we distinguish and differentiate ourselves to get away from the old selling methodologies that have us understanding needs and placing solutions as opposed to truly serving our buyers by helping them navigate through all of the behind-the-scenes decision issues they must address that are largely devoid of needs/solution issues and mainly about the internal politics, personal problems, priorities, and goals, and relationships? The answer is of course, Guess Free Selling. No Guessing; Hope is not a Sales Strategy; the best sales calls are good conversations about what they want to do and why it is personally important to them.
The bottom-line is that all content has become commoditized. In other words, all “presentation material” is now at little or no value to winning the client because it is already available digitally for free. If you try to deliver this information to a prospect you will be relegated to little more than a human web-browser and not a very good one at that. You might say – “…well my products are also innovative! They are new and exciting and efficient.” But the truth is that even innovation is now commoditized; we take for granted that things will be new and innovative and we are unwilling to pay much of a premium if any for it.
Want proof? You can scan any bar code with your I-phone and instantly get a map with directions on where you can buy the same item you’re scanning at a lower price. If this isn’t commodity market efficiency at the consumer level it doesn’t exist! So unless you’ve figured out how to make a car run gas-free, or you’ve discovered a miracle cure for cancer – even innovation itself has become commoditized- there’s very little new that’s new enough to pay a premium!
But there is something ancient that does deliver value even in this highly efficient economy. It is as old as mankind itself and it will never be delivered digitally. It is the salesperson who can convert the Buyer’s Vision of what they want to buy, and why, into a Belief the salesperson understands what those personal issues are and can relate their product or service to that Vision. The rest is just product dump and Buyer’s simply don’t need you for that anymore.
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