Customers don’t want sales people, they want business people who solve problems.
Who has time for slick talking, no substance sales guys? No one. Who has time to spend countless hours golfing, lunching and socializing? I can’t think of many. As Tim Sanders related on his blog, “Don’t invite me to lunch if you want to sell me something. Set an appointment at my office to come pitch me if you really want my business!”
I know people argue the golf course is an ideal setting for selling, because it creates a captive audience for a few hours to establish rapport and develop relationships. But it’s not the socializing that drives the sales funnel. It’s the sales person’s ability to solve a problem, ask insightful questions and get things done. The social setting is a coincidence to the result.
Customers don’t want sales people. They want business people who sell.
Subject Matter Experts
Sales people who claim they can sell ice to Eskimos are full of shit. Persuasive-drive and charisma are not enough to sell complex business solutions in this day and age.
Business people who sell are first and foremost subject matter experts. They have well-honed knowledge and skills to help their customers. They demonstrate their expertise through the questions they ask, the stories and examples they share, the advice they give and their ability to help customers make wise purchase decisions. They don’t sell – they facilitate.
Facilitate the buying process
Business people who sell are facilitators. Their job is to facilitate the buying process, and navigate customers to a positive outcome.
The facilitation role can take many twists and turns depending on the type of service, the customer’s level of knowledge with the purchasing process, and the number of people involved in the deal. Some transactions are straightforward, and others are complex. A strong business person who sells understands this process, and helps their customers efficiently navigate the process.
A core competency of the facilitation process is qualifying the opportunity. Not all customers are a good fit. An effective business person who sells is able to quickly qualify a deal, and let the customer know if there is a fit or not. Business people who sell don’t waste time trying to fit square pegs into round holes.
Create tangible value
It boils down to value. Socializing is not selling. Actually, selling is not selling. The real sales people today are facilitators. They bring value to their clients by helping them understand their options, navigate complex purchasing decisions and make wise decisions. Customers appreciate these individuals, and are more than happy to give them their business.
How do your business developers stack up? Are they business people who sell?