–By Stephen Hackett
First off, let’s get one thing straight. There is no shortcut to success, no elevator to winning, blah, blah, blah. I know you’ve heard it all before.
So, I’m not actually suggesting that selling should not be hard work. Otherwise, everyone would be doing it—agreed? Successful people work hard and stay focused for long periods of time in order to reach their achievements.
What I’m trying to say is: selling is flipping tough.
Working for (or representing) one company, vendor, or supplier means labouring every day to find buyers in a market that develops and alters faster than your product people can adapt. It is tough—very tough.
Worse still, we live in times when access to information is a lot easier than it used to be. This shift to having readily available information is also causing a shift in the way buyers think of sales.
Let’s use my recent personal experience to demonstrate the problem…
The Challenge of Selling in a Connected World
At the end of last year, I decided I needed a new laptop.
Given my ability to go do my own market research, if a sales person from Microsoft, Apple, Dell, etc. had somehow decided at that time to prospect me and offer me one from their catalogue, they would not have got a look in.
Why? Because I would not have wanted to talk to them. Instead, I did a Google search for ‘best mid-range laptops for business’ and read a few reviews. I then looked at the Lenovo, Microsoft Surface and Dell XPS ranges. After reading and comparing the information I had personally gathered, I decided that the Dell was the one for me. Not forgetting making a Sunday afternoon trip to the nearest John Lewis to have a play with the shortlist. So, I ask, why would I need a sales person?
What Does ‘Sales Person’ Mean to You?
Today, there is so much readily available information waiting on the Web for the buyer. The sales person in my case ended up being an order taker, i.e. an online form at dell.com. Imagine then, how in our consumer minds we have relegated the role of sales person down to order taker—because as technology consumers, that’s how we research and buy.
Imagine it from your customer’s perspective. You have decided to go buy a new wide area network, move your data into the cloud, and bin the PBX in favour of a UCaaS solution. Now imagine you have twelve or more different potential service suppliers knocking on your door, extolling the virtues of their product at the expense of their competition.
Then imagine six months after you have finally acquired and implemented your solution, you get a knock on the door from another sales person saying, “My company/technology that you’ve never heard of is more superior and a better value than your recent selection.”
I know, you’d rather not!
Did I say sales is hard work? What I meant was, buying is such hard work!
Transforming the Perception of Sales
So, let’s make it easier. Imagine again that you have a requirement and this time, the potential Suppliers come to you via a vendor agnostic, non-sales targeted advisor, whose sole purpose in life is to help you make the best choice. Like the sales people, the advisor gets paid only when you buy, but no selling is required, and no sales defending is needed.
The difference is, the advisor knows the market and has access to a complete range of Suppliers and technologies, even keeping a diligent watch on emerging technologies and vendors. They don’t look for low hanging fruit—but instead, look to help you pick the fruit you have your buying eye on.
Wouldn’t that be sales person you’d want to know?
About the Author
Stephen Hackett, Managing Director for Intelisys Global, is a 15-year telecoms industry veteran with extensive experience crafting and implementing compelling partner-facing strategies for development of industry programs via indirect sales channels.