The Times They Are A-Changing

Peady’s Selling Engagement sponsored by IRD Prospector

Welcome to this week’s post on sales and selling success.

Some of you will recognise the headline – it’s the title to one of Bob Dylan’s greatest songs. By the way if you are asking who’s Bob Dylan? Go Google it!

Here’s the thing. In sales, particularly media sales, “times are indeed a-changing”.

Educating your customers?

Back in the 20th century an important part of any good salesperson’s job was to “educate” clients and keep them informed about the latest product or service updates. Any salesperson who only operates in the “education” mode today won’t be successful.

These days, the internet is doing a great job of keeping clients (or customers) well informed.

However, as there is so much information and in many cases misinformation for them to wade through, clients can experience too much choice. As a result, they become indecisive, overwhelmed and challenged in their decision-making process.

An effective salesperson can turn the “too much information” or “too much choice” issue into a selling opportunity.

Today’s selling opportunity

It’s our job as salespeople to help our clients to sort through all of the information at their disposal not with education but to properly diagnose or uncover our clients’ situations first and then determine how we can help by using our product or service.

Many times, an effective diagnostic meeting will uncover issues, challenges or opportunities that the client wasn’t aware of or that weren’t front of mind. Acting as a “detective” we can lead them on a journey of discovery.

However, to be an effective sales “detective” we need to recognise two things:

  1. Some of things we uncover we won’t be able to solve or influence
  2. Other things we uncover need to be prioritised in the client’s mind as important or not important; urgent or non-urgent.

Then and only then can you “educate” them to help deal with their problem.

And that’s todays sales opportunity!

The downside?

Unfortunately, many newer salespeople move into “education” mode way too soon.

Simply put, if the client or customer doesn’t perceive or agree that your uncovered issue, problem or opportunity require immediate action, they won’t change what they are doing now. They’ll stick to the status quo and the “education” you want to provide is useless.
The Bob Dylan solution

Today Bob’s song would be called “The Times Have A-Changed”. And they have.
Using an old-style sales approach won’t work. Accept that the clients and customers in many cases know a lot more than you give them credit for. Use that position to your advantage and help them to understand how the information that they already have can be used to grow their business and truly address their challenges.

Until next week good selling!

About the author 

Stephen Pead is a media industry veteran of 30 years with significant experience in direct sales, sales management and general management. He is based in Sydney and specialises in helping SME’s market their businesses more effectively and providing training for salespeople and sales managers.

He can be contacted at [email protected]