Most Common Statement While Sales Prospecting? “I Hate Salespeople!”
With a look of absolute disdain, those were the words coming out of my prospect’s frowning mouth. He went on. “You’re all the same! I’m sick of slick selling gimmicks trying to convince me to buy something I don’t want or need!” This is one of the main problems with sales prospecting. Most prospects have a great dislike for salespeople.
Like many prospective customers, this person was an otherwise reasonable and intelligent person. Why then had he developed such a strong distrust of salespeople? That question prompted me to do a little digging. I did a Google search for some simple sales phrases to see what would populate. I was floored by the sheer volume of results.
- Firstly: Sales Tips: 475,000,000 results
- Secondly: Sales Process: 50,900,000 results
- Thirdly: Sales Training: 262,000,000 results
Those three terms alone accounted for more than three-quarters of a BILLION results. Pay close attention, folks. That’s a “B” for billion! I went a bit further and started visiting random sites that popped up. Every site had all sorts of advice, tips, and processes. However, without exception, they all centered around methods to help salespeople convince prospects to buy their widgets. It’s no wonder our prospects are slamming phones, closing doors, and deleting emails from us. We’ve created entire industries around trying to sell something. And in the minds of buyers, it’s often something they don’t need.
Do a Google search for “Sales Training Companies” and you’ll get more than 17 Million results.
Now obviously those aren’t all individual training firms. But suffice to say, there are a lot out there. And they all claim their process is the best. Since we’re on the numbers bandwagon, another Google search showed me something staggering. There are approximately 25 million listed companies in the U.S. Here is the scary thing. In spite of the number of companies and the billions spent on sales training each year, CSO Insights notes in its latest survey that fewer than 50% of salespeople are achieving their objectives! So let’s review what we know. We’re not hitting our targets. We have buyers who avoid us like the plague. Something clearly isn’t working.
What’s the problem? Nearly all sales processes are geared towards convincing a prospect to purchase what we are selling. I can hear you already. “But Ray, we’re paid to sell!” I know. So am I. But the fact that we’re sellers is not the same thing as how we should be selling. Everybody says their process is customer-focused. But in reality, it’s not. It’s not truly about the buyer. It’s focused on the seller’s perspective and getting paid.
No matter the marketing speak describing the sales process as customer-focused or buyer-centered, upon close examination of the actual methodology, you often find tactics intended to control or even manipulate the buyer. There is little transparency and the system is too self-serving. No wonder we aren’t getting the results we want. Neither are our buyers!
Sales Prospecting: Considering The Buyer’s Perspective
The truth is that everything we do should be based on the buyer’s perspective and focused on helping them succeed… We believe that our role as sales professionals is to bring value to the organizations with whom we engage, whether they buy from us or not. In every engagement, we should be bringing value. And when the value that we bring is helping the buyer leverage any of the solutions that we have that will then bring value to them and ultimately help them succeed at a higher level… That’s when we make a sale.
Our very purpose must be to help the buyer make more intelligent and informed buying decisions. This is especially important when you consider that most buyers have had very little if any training on HOW to evaluate alternatives so that they ultimately get what they want. When you think about it, most buyers get training on how to negotiate the best price for what they’ve decided they’re going to buy. They don’t get trained on how to figure out what the best thing is for them… That should be the role of the salesperson.
When we change our view of our role, we change our interaction with the buyers and they change their reaction to us. The effect is better results for everyone.