It has only been in recent years that colleges & universities in the U.S. have offered majors in the career of sales. ‘Bout time!
That means for most all of us we “happened to end up in sales”. We found ourselves in this career. We learned “as we went along”, on the streets. The real College of Hard Knocks!
That’s cool. It’s still the greatest career in the World. It’s still one of the highest paying careers known to man. It’s still filled with some of the smartest & charismatic people on earth. I’ll take that. I’m proud to be associated with this group.
In 2015 sales is a different ball of wax. Never before have our prospects & customers been as informed about our company, our products & services as they are now. Our prospects & customers are smarter than they have ever been. The information available to them is enormous & they stop at nothing to get it. Thanks, Al Gore!
Not only that, there are many studies that show a large percentage of companies know the problem they are having long before a salesperson arrives to do her “needs analysis.” Yes, selling is different in 2015. We have a responsibility to adjust accordingly.
The responsibility, quite frankly, is to not sell at all. We certainly should not look, sound or act like a “traditional salesperson”. Nobody needs another salesperson in their life because, after all, nobody wants to be sold. But people do want to buy. Therefore, we need to help our prospects & customers buy – from us.
Competition has never been stronger than it is right now. On average, your competitors are good companies, with good products & good services. The bad ones not found themselves out of business in 2007-2009. To be in the game in 2015 you have to be good, period.
So, the pressure is on us – the salespeople. We have to (here goes that over-used phrase) add value. Yes we do need to add value or they don’t need us. We have to offer solutions or they don’t need us. We have to help them make money, save time, save money, improve production, etc. or they don’t need us. Big responsibility.
Want a list of things to do from for effective value-add in 2015? Thought you’d never ask:
· Stop talking so much
· Ditch the canned power-point presentations (they’re all about you)
· Know your products & services inside & out!
· Know your competitors products & services inside & out!
· Know the meaning of the word empathy & have it
· Ask tough questions
· Stop working 9 to 5 (you’re salespeople)
· Never trash-talk a competitor
· Be anal-retentive about living up to your commitments (however large or small they are)
It’s 2015, stop selling like it’s 1980.