There isn’t one industry out there that hasn’t been facing fundamental changes in the way their customers shop, learn and communicate.
Sales people used to be the gate keepers of product knowledge and information. If you wanted to know more, they were the one’s who knew. They had all the power and could use it to their advantage to sell to the consumer.
That’s all changing now.
Buyers often know a lot more about the market, the competitors, and products they want before they move into the decision stage and convert into a paying customer. In some cases, sales people have become order takers now, dealing only with pricing and closing activities.
If you want to sell to this new consumer, there are two main concepts that you need to understand, internalize and then start to shift your sales & marketing approach towards.
1) Stop Selling
Yes, you heard me right. Stop Selling. Today’s buyers are tired of being sold to. They don’t need your standard information and they don’t want or appreciate the hard sell. Buyers spend lots of time researching you, your competitors, and the market, and they aren’t going to want to talk to a sales person until they’ve already done this research and they feel they are ready to have an informed conversation. If you want to attract new buyers, then you need to focus on helping them.
As a business owner, this means that the sooner you can appear on their ‘research radar’, the better your chances will be of capturing the lead and the sale.
2) Helping your Contacts Buy
Focusing on helping contacts buy means being solution oriented. It means following a philosophy of give and you will receive. Instead of crowding your website with buy now buttons & spec sheets, create content that educates, entertains and solves problems for your buyer personas.
How to’s, videos, webinars, common question and answer articles are types of content that will be far more valuable to a buyer looking for a solution to their problem than your catalogue. Stories about real people using your products or services will help show buyers why your product is worth them parting with their hard earned cash.
The buyers journey is very different than it was just 10 years ago. People today spend hours online researching the things they want to buy. If you’re the one that’s helping them move from the awareness stage through the consideration stage, then you’ve probably positioned yourself nicely for the decision stage where they open their wallet.
There’s another interesting phenomenon that happens when you follow the philosophy of ‘give and you will receive.’
If you’ve ever read the Psychology of Persuasion then you will understand how the law of reciprocity will work in your favor when you stop selling and start helping contacts buy.