Sunday, May 6, 2012

Getting past the nose

"Buyers are liars."  How many times have you heard that phrase?

It's a pretty common aphorism in certain sales-oriented industries, such as autos, real estate and home remodeling.

I've heard it thousands of times, usually following a salesperson's failed pitch.  "They said they were interested in a two-story colonial on a cul de sac, and I showed them every one of my listings, but they ended up buying a cape on Main Street from someone else.  I could have sold them that, they just lied to me. They don't even know what they want."

Does that dialogue strike a chord?  Does it seem true to you?  Do you believe that your customers really do not know what they want, or that they lie to your face?

Among professions, only politicians are trusted less than salespeople.  Why is that?  Can it really be true that in a society where the vast majority of our Gross Domestic Product is consumer-driven, that trillions of dollars are generated on deceit or cluelessness?

Reality check:  buyers do know what they want, and maybe what they want is not you.

Most traditional sales models or processes are built around the sales "pitch."  The salesperson is the expert and the customer is "educated."  It is a one-way dialog, with the salesperson in control.  Ripe for misinformation and manipulation.  Not a foundation for an honest connection.

The world has changed and consumers are in control.  They are no longer a monolithic group that can be broadcast to in a shotgun approach.  They have instant access to information about products, prices and in many cases you and your company.  They are individuals, not an audience.  They are making informed decisions.

Have you adapted your sales and marketing approach to that?  Ask yourself:
  • Am I facilitating the buying process or just selling what I have?
  • Who does the most talking, the salesperson or the customer?
  • Who is my customer, how do I qualify them?
  • How does my customer make decisions, what is their motivation and buying style?
  • Am I being an honest broker or just another salesperson?
Marketing and selling isn't easy, but it never has been.  The power of new communications technologies is a benefit to both sides of a commercial conversation.  It should be making your business transactions easier, building trust more quickly, and driving revenues.

And that's no lie.

To be continued...

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