My wife and I purchased a new car recently. Not a new car mind you but a “new to us” car. A budget-friendly, Ohio winter friendly, grown-up anti-college car, car.
It has just the right amount of bells and a humble, yet confident, whistle.
This was the first time at a dealership in a while. For some reason I guess I expected the approach had changed since the approach to so many other consumer interactions have, but nothing seemed that different.
I spent some time in new car sales during college. People who know me know how ridiculous that sounds. Not because there’s anything wrong with car sales. There are absolutely great dealerships and great sales associates out there. More because I’m what you might call a fumbling introvert.
It all got me to thinking about sales today. How it’s not really about selling at all if you’ve grown and evolved as purchasing habits have.
The facts, according to a study by Ravenhouse International, are sharp and they are this:
- 7 out of 10 customers believe that the sales reps that service them are product-focused rather than customer-focused
- Customers feel that only 1 in 10 sales reps adds any real value
So if Sales is not about selling now what is it about?
Externally it’s about:
- Teaching – not the feature-benefits but teaching what to expect in the process and after.
- Clearing the misconceptions – allowing for transparency in who is involved, how the service/product compares and how there’s a real possibility that it doesn’t fit.
- Acknowledgment of reservations. Hearing them, talking about them not talking around them.
- Anti-segmentation. Less lumping into groups but more individualization. What’s that you say? You can’t “scale” like that? Focus your processes on quality over quantity.
- Being a trusted advisor instead of a “consultative salesperson.” Here the conversation starts at a higher level instead of a transaction.
Internally it’s about:
- A seamless connection between marketing, brand management and the “sales” interaction
- The right mix of Direct and Indirect (inbound, content-driven) Lead Generation
“Gartner projects that “by 2020, 85% of all B2B transactions will occur without talking to a human.”
Whether the above-mentioned prediction holds true or not sales is not about selling anymore. The relationship has to start much sooner.
Thoughts or experiences on the subject? Share below.