Growing up, there were a few lessons that simply needed to be learned the hard way.
When it came time to walk, you fell down a time or two. That pot of boiling water on the stove? Yeah, there was a reason mom said not to touch it — it was incredibly hot. And perhaps my favorite of life lessons — crying about something doesn’t mean you’ll get your way.
Interestingly enough, getting older doesn’t mean that these kinds of lessons disappear — they’re still very much present. The biggest difference, though? As an adult, the consequences of a metaphoric face-plant tend to be a bit more substantial.
Needless to say, as far as your sales career is concerned, the fewer speed bumps you hit, the better. Below, you’ll find three invaluable sales lessons you’ll for sure want to learn, but not the hard way — check ’em out:
1) Success Is as Simple as Learning to Walk In a Buyer’s Shoes
I’ve done my fair share of writing about must-have sales tools and back on the Avenue Talent Partners blog. That said, one stands high above the rest as the most effective in our digital, information-heavy day and age — buyer empathy.
The modern salesperson must first have walked a marathon in a buyer’s shoes before attempting to make a pitch of any sort. Thanks to the Internet, widespread content and a host of personal electronic devices, B.S. abounds — buyers know this.
As such, they’re understandably hesitant about anything a commission-driven professional has to say to them. The good news, though? When a salesperson understands the authentic, day-to-day dealings of a prospect, bonds of trust are built.
It’s at this point that salespeople cease to advise customers, opting to help them, instead. There’s a tremendous difference between the two.
2) Don’t Force-Feed Prospects Product Demos — Educate Them
That information of which was made mention in the previous section? Yes, it’s a blessing, but there’s a downside, too — it can be overwhelming.
Because of this, when a prospective customer finds themselves with a need that must be satisfied, the number of solutions made readily available is astounding.
So, what separates your product or service from those of your competitors? This is where education — NOT product demos — make a real difference. The bigger difference to ensure you’re educating on what’s most meaningful, ask really good questions to uncover priorities, goals, pain and tie that back to value!
The vast majority of rival companies will force-feed prospects product demo requests.
The only problem? Most on the receiving end are still suck in the “awareness” stage of the buying process. Whether it be through an e-book, webinar, or free consultation, provide genuine value for potential customers before bludgeoning them over the head with a product demo.
It’s 2017, people — content marketing is here to stay.
3) Customers Determine the Sales Process — NOT Salespeople
Stereotypically speaking, at least in the professional realm, the word “slimy” is most often associated with salespeople. Why? Well, for the longest time, far too many of them were using sales jargon, industry-specific buzzwords and psychological manipulation to win clients.
Fortunately, things are changing — salespeople are no longer in the driver’s seat.
Nowadays, when things are done correctly, salespeople build awareness, consider the real-life needs of an audience and help them make the right decision.
Simply put, salespeople aren’t in control of the sales process — empowered buyers are.
Trust me — each of the above aren’t lessons you should learn the hard way. After all, not only are your salary, career and prospects on the line, but so too is the sales reputation that will follow you for years to come.
Anyway, those are my thoughts on the matter — now, it’s your turn …
In the comments section below, add a couple of points to my list of three invaluable sales lessons. Learning from one another is the only way to improve.
Until then, best of luck sales comrades!
Note: These words of wisdom were originally featured on Linkedin