There was a time when failure in gaining new clients was allowed. A certain percentage of loss to wins acceptable. Where a “win-ratio” was cool, as long as there were steady wins. Not today. Why? Because traditional selling and its methods are dead. It takes too long and the buyer in most cases is already educated enough to buy on their own if they want to.
Don’t get me wrong, there will always be buyers and sellers, educating a prospect and negotiating a price. That’s a given. But the complexion of these unwavering parts is drastically different with todays buyer. A mobile device and Google search is our closest go-to information ally. That’s why spending time and resources with the “right suspects” to turn them into prospects is more critical today than ever.
Historically, Baby Boomers have been known to be master sellers, and masters at their craft. Through the years they’ve built sophisticated market penetration tools and sales methods to win in the “traditional” competition for new or repeat business. This includes a “don’t just win, crush your competitor” or “make it hurt, something they won’t forget” mentality. Tactical strategies devised over countless hours in “war-rooms”. In every case short of the habitual low cost buyer, closing a sale came down to the relationships created early in the prospecting and sales process that would produce the win. Tactical face-to-face trust building that could be done no other way. The type of mindset BigFish teaches through SDR™ (Shortest Distance to Revenue™).
10-20 years ago selling was all about educating buyers on resources, delivering flawlessly, and yes, relationships. The educator in all of us was what the buyer needed desperately. It took too much time for them to do it on their own, valuable time the buyer didn’t have to spend. “If I can take that issue off your desk will you hire us” became part of the selling mantra, especially during the new century internet bubble economy.
So if the traditional selling and buying relationship is dead, what does the new interaction look like? How and why is it different?
Today, information is at our finger tips, lightning fast so the buyer need not be as dependent on a sales person. Both Baby Boomers and Young Professionals check a minimum of 3 resources before making a purchase on their own, solo, with little to no assistance. Comparison tools, data management, security and pricing is easily available to the buyers fingertips. Delivery, well, next day air, right!?! We’re almost deadline free with delivery execution, so efficient.
So the seller’s challenge today is to not over sell by bombarding them with too much information, eventually chasing the buyer away. The seller needs to stop selling and simply help buyers buy. Build the “trust-bridge” by customizing the relationship to the needs of the buyer early, or better yet, before the sales cycle when we pre-determined the suspect as a”Prospect Target“.
So what’s not new is relationship building? Spending the right time and resources with a defined opportunity to create trust. What is dead is the elevator speech, funnel and traditional selling.
The difference? Prep-work on target identification, swift execution, heavy use of technology in design and delivery and a “No Jerks” rule. Just honest, authentic delivery of products and services with a concern on how you the seller are solving social and global issues.
The challenge? With 4 different generations in the work place, one cannot ignore the age of the buyer. It’s certainly not an opportunity for age discrimination, it is critical for age identification – know your buyer and their principles and priorities because each of the 4gen value systems are different. Nothing new in knowing your buyer, but all new having 4 different buying styles, interests and nuances that can swiftly keep you in or kick you out as the right choice.
Skeptical? Two simple scenarios: Young Professionals, just pull out and check your phone in a conference room/meeting of Baby Boomers. Baby Boomers, see how it goes for you when you start the conversation telling a millennial their impatient, pushy and too bold.
Mom taught us all to be considerate to others. Asking for permission, offer to help and provide solutions is usually a great place to start…….
Stop selling, get to know all 4 buyers, what makes them tick and how NOT to offend them.
Stop selling and start helping buyers buy…….