There is no doubt that in a web enabled digital age the role of a salesperson has to change. Quite simply, in most markets, prospects now have more access to choice and information than ever before. This has altered the way buyers access choice and make decisions. Simple logic would, therefore, dictate that sellers have to react and alter their own behaviour.
Below are three questions every salesperson should be asking themselves today:
1. Where do I add value? - Quite simply, salespeople used to provide value by turning up. In a world where there was limited access to information, seeing a few sales reps was an efficient way for a customer to find out what was going on in a particular market place. This is no longer the case. Today, customer perception is that they can find out most of the information they require online. Therefore, salespeople have to define where they provide value in a face to face meeting. Regurgitating information that is already widely available, is not enough. Today, salespeople need to provide 'insight'. That is, a perspective and understanding of which the prospect was previously unaware. This means that salespeople now have to be real experts in their field.
2. Do I understand the context of the purchase? - In a world where the customer is 'empowered', they have often undertaken much of their own research before they ever speak to a salesperson. This means that salespeople are often seeing prospects a lot later in the buying cycle. In this scenario, it is imperative that the salesperson understands the context in which the purchase is being made. No-one ever wakes up in the morning and decides they want a new software system, training provider or photocopier. Understanding the events that are driving the interest in the purchase is vital.
3. How do I create a sales experience? - The web has provided everyone today with a voice. If they choose, people can post comments and views on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and others and be read by an audience of which they could only have dreamed, a few years ago. People have become empowered and more active. For example, nearly all of the biggest shows on British TV today allow the audience to decide the outcome. People no longer want to be passive recipients . Now, they want to be involved in the process. In this context, just going through a boring sales presentation will not capture the imagination of a customer. Today, salespeople need to get the customer involved in the process. In other words, provide an experience.
These are just some of the new paradigms that salespeople have to deal with today. It is the best salespeople who will consider these type of questions and outperform others who are still trying to make the 'old models' work in a world that has moved on.