My friend Dave Stein of ES Research wrote a very timely post on his blog a few days ago about the battle between salespeople and purchasing agents. I found it timely because one of my coaching clients needed some emergency coaching yesterday because when he visited with a new prospect, a purchasing manager for a division of a major wood products company, he had an "uh, oh" experience.
My client realized within just a couple of minutes of beginning the discussion that the prospect knew far more about the salesperson's business, sales process, and even the type of issues his company was having than the salesperson knew about the prospect's company. To his surprise and dismay, apparently the prospect was doing more research on the salesperson's company than he had done on the prospect's company. He knew he was in a situation where he was at a distinct disadvantage because his prospect was better prepared than he was.
Over the years I've addressed the issue of how prospects-both business and individual consumer prospects-are changing. No longer do they need salespeople to provide information and guidance because they have at their fingertips mountains of information-from data to case studies to price comparisons to recommendations and guidance by recognized experts about every product and service imaginable.
Salespeople must be better prepared than ever. Not only are prospects becoming more difficult to connect with-they've learned to block out your marketing and advertising and avoid your cold calls-they are becoming far more knowledgeable about their issues and the possible solutions to those issues. In addition, corporate purchasing personnel are actively engaged in researching you just as you are researching them-and they are being trained on how to counter your sales techniques, negotiate, read your body language, and other methods of out selling the seller.
The world of selling is changing and it is changing rapidly. More than ever it is imperative that salespeople learn how to find and connect with prospects in ways prospects will respect and accept-and unfortunately, the traditional methods of prospecting just don't do that. But in addition, salespeople must learn how to sell in a world where the consumer is as well or even better informed than they are and where the prospect has access to the recommendations and guidance of recognized, 'objective' experts.
If you thought selling was a tough job in the past, you ain't seen nothing yet.
Link to original post