On the consumer side, both for individuals and buying groups, it has become increasingly difficult to make a confident buying decision.
You would think that this is our moment in sales. Our customers are crying out for help, feeling overwhelmed and confused. However, when the sales rep pops up and offers to help, that’s the last person they want to see. We live in a time where our target audience is begging for our help, yet they reject our help because of how they perceive the sales profession.
For the salespeople who handle this correctly though, this is our time to shine. Customers that prefer to buy without talking to a rep are 23% more likely to regret their purchase
. Even if they don’t realise it, your customers do need help making that decision.
However, if you’re a sales professional in this environment and you raise your hand and say you’ll provide that help, you better be able to follow through on your promise. If you come in and make things worse, it’s going to be bad for you, your company, your colleagues and the customer.
Even the simplest purchase decision is now complicated. You can pop on to Amazon to buy a £15 dongle for your computer and, two hours later, you’re still there reading reviews and comparing your options. So you click “Save for later” and defer the decision to another day. It’s frustrating.
Now, multiply that by a couple of orders of magnitude and you have B2B buying today.
If I’m the customer and a sales rep comes in and makes that worse, then **** you. I haven’t got time for that. Now I hate me, and I hate you for making me hate me.
On the other hand, this is also an opportunity to make the customer feel better. In Robert Cialdini’s book Influence
, he discusses the idea of a value exchange, or reciprocity. In other words, if you give me something of value, I’ll want to give you something in return.
Now, something of value could be a product, service or some other kind of solution, but it could also be simply feeling better about yourself. This is how relationships work, like friendships and dating. By helping our customers feel more confident in their decisions, by helping them feel better about themselves, then everyone wins.
Ultimately, this isn’t about buying or deciding. This is a story about humans. It’s about how we are as human beings and how we interact with our world today. Our opportunity as sales professionals today is not to change the way our customers think about us, but to change the way customers think about themselves.
Brent Adamson and Matt Dixon are two of the leading experts in sales, having authored both The Challenger Sale and The Challenger Customer. Matt’s new book, The JOLT Effect, is out now.
Check out the full webinar with Brent and Matt to learn more about the Future of Selling