By very definition, salespeople sell. Yet, buyers do not like to be sold to. In fact, just 29% of buyers say they prefer to talk to salespeople, while 62% say they would rather consult a search engine (HubSpot).
Forrester even predicts that 1 million salespeople will be out of a job by 2020 because of self-service e-commerce.
Are these research nuggets a reflection of buyers moving more of their buying process to the internet or an outcome of receiving less and less value from engagements with salespeople?
While self-service e-commerce could truly threaten the B2B salesperson, it will never hold a flame up to the trusted advisor in sales.
While all trusted advisors in B2B sales are salespeople, not all salespeople are trusted advisors.
Salespeople sell products and services – that is they pitch products and services and take orders for those products and services. In contrast, trusted advisors engage with, genuinely care about and provide real value to their B2B buyers. Trusted advisors help rather than sell. Trusted advisors have buyers reach out to them in times of need. The mission of trusted advisors is to serve, but in fact they are the salespeople who tend to sell more than their peers.
If you have a sales team of salespeople, here are some methods to impart on them to help them transform into trusted advisors in sales (and to avoid losing their value to computers):
- Think less about you and your company and more about your buyer and your buyer’s company.
- Become an expert on your B2B buyer’s industry, company and role.
- Listen more than you talk.
- Challenge their status quo with perspectives that your buyer is likely either not aware of or that helps them avoid pitfalls in their current approach.
- Offer outcomes (derived from solutions) rather than products and services.
- Be prepared to answer hard questions about your solutions — honestly.
- Talk about price without fear or hesitation.
- Express legitimate urgency — not just because you need to make your numbers.
Contact me if you would like to learn more about inspiring your sales team to trusted advisor in sales status.