We Are Entering the Golden Age of Selling. Here’s Why

2017-08-31 12:08

by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes | LinkedIn

Selling has changed in the last five years.  Why?  Because the buyer process has changed.

Whenever something is purchased, from a car to a multi-million dollar IT system, people are using search engines and social networks to self-educate.  This could be to understand and configure the makeup of the car, to researching the team that will implement the new IT system.

It’s worth pointing out that I’m not quoting research here, I’m quoting real life and real examples.

When I started selling, you phoned people up and went to see them.  There was no internet, YouTube, Twitter, Google or LinkedIn.  The only way to hear about a product was to have a sales person phone you up and tell you about it.  This was all part of the “desire building” process.

The problem with this is that peopled wised up.  We have all purchased something from a sales person that cold called.  The timeshare, the worthless shares, the amazing deal you found cheaper elsewhere. You name it, it’s been sold over the phone and we suffered from buyer remorse.

Enter manipulation

A whole industry has been born to “hack” the sales process.  To get the sale, salespeople manipulated or told “white lies” to people.  Or the industry found ways to get around assistants and voice mail to get to the decision maker.  Again, all about manipulation.  I’ve been told to “man up!”. To be a liar and a cheat?  Surely, we are all better than that?

What’s more, manipulation annoys people.  It hurts your brand, other sales people and to be honest right now, people think that sales people are pretty “low” when it comes to the human species.  Us sales people hid behind job titles such as Account Manager, because nobody liked to admit we were in sales.  In the early noughties I think we had hit the bottom.

If sales has reached rock bottom, why are we about to hit the golden age?

Because all that manipulation, interruption and sales annoyance is over.

What has changed?

The internet has changed everything.  The buyer is now in control.  They decide when they contact a company or make an enquiry.  And that is the difference.  Companies do the research and then make contact to enquire or purchase a product.  Hence “inbound marketing” was born.

If we go back to how individuals buy, they use the internet to educate themselves.  If I’m thinking of getting a new car, but want to know about makes and models, I will turn to the internet.

I’m looking to buy some new accountancy software, I will go to the internet and research.

In both cases I will draw up a short list and contact some companies.

(It’s worth mentioning that with the choice out there right now, people are deselecting from a short list as part of this process before they even think about getting in touch.)

Companies and their employees need to be on social so you pick up those inbound enquiries.

As I’ve said many times before, if you are not getting inbound from your social profiles, you are not doing it properly.

So, when a company contacts you, what do you do?

You don’t sell.  You don’t need to.  The buyer already has an idea what they want.  Your job is to help, guide and empower people to buy.

Now here is the “bonus score”.

Once you have the person buying, make sure you get a referral. This will then super charge the number of leads, meetings and reviews you get.  Referrals have a 70% close rate!

Let’s make this the golden age of sales. Give me a call.  Tim Hughes +44 7823-534557.

Digital Leadership Associates: We are a Social Media Agency. We do three things: Social Media StrategySocial Selling and Social Media Management. Drop us an email and let’s talk about how we can make an impact on your organisation.

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