The customer is always right? At least that is how it should be- or once was?
I have come across several instances lately where the “Sales Process” superseded the need of the customer- namely me! Maybe I am hyper sensitive to the sales process because of my sales background, or maybe it is something larger. Maybe the writing is on the wall? Is the sales process of old obsolete? Are we in fact entering a new age of sales- Sales2.0 if you will? Gone are the days of the 8 step sales process that bring is in an army of experts to sell you on one product?
I entered a meeting today with a vendor that is already working with our organization. The purpose of the meeting was to go over the capabilities we had already purchased. 20 minutes of up-selling and chest thumping- and we finally started the overview of the purchased product. When is it time to stop selling and start servicing? It is proven that when you service a customer to extreme satisfaction they will purchase again and new sales ops organically develop. Turn the page and service your customer and ye shall find organic sales ops!
Another example: I was on the second sales call with a prospectus vendor. The mission for them was to show us their product with our brand in mind. Our own data points, a test drive if you will! No using Coke and Walmart as examples of how powerful the product is. Instead I was met with the following:
- “It costs us money to use your data in a demo”
- “We don’t have a playground for you to try it out, but we do have screen shots”
- “Just follow along with the slide deck- it’ll answer most if not all of your questions.”
My thought was “Maybe car salespeople aren’t so stupid- they at least let you test it before you buy it!” Ultimately both situations were a supreme waste of time for me. Time is of the essence to many of us in business today, so losing time for the sake of a sales process is futile. Barry Libert once said “When you give your customers, peers, constituents and family what they want, when they want it, and how they want it- you win them over- over and over again!” That resonated with me!
According to wikipedia a sales process is a systematic approach to selling a product or service. Traditional sales process definition breaks a selling cycle into the following phases:
So what is Sales2.0? I would argue it is listening more than you sell. Ask questions to get to the fundamentals of selling which is “find the need and fill the need.” But to do that you must listen. To listen you need to abandon the traditional sales process dictated by your organization and let the prospect tell you what they want. In order to do this I suggest giving the prospect an information sheet ahead of your call/meeting. In the age of online shopping and testimonials it has become a greater practice to research before you buy. A trend that will continue to grow as technology infiltrates all facets of our lives.
In addition to listening, I suspect large ticket items are going to all move into a “try it before you buy it” approach to sales. If you have nothing to hide – then have at it. Have faith that your product to will perform to the prospectus customers expectations. In many instances this will actually speed up the process and remove unneeded steps.
Finally, think about selling activities that allow both sides of the fence to learn from each other about what they would like. This helps build trust, mutual understanding and a true feeling of partnership from the outset. This is finding the need and filling the need collaboratively and in a far more productive way.
Be sure to check out a swell site called Sales2.0: Next Generation Sales Tip & Sales Strategies and here is something to think about if you service your customer. If you stop selling and service them- you will open pandora’s box for new organic sales without the need of a sales process.
Share This Post