Improve Sales by Treating Sales as a Service
It’s a fact. Buyers are no longer interacting with Sellers the way they used to. The average salesperson is involved with a third or less of the buying process, leading to the question, “Are salespeople becoming obsolete?” The traditional value they once provided is, to most Buyers, no longer even considered a value. The hard truth is that kind of value will never really be considered valuable again, which is a fact that modern sales organizations will have to come to grips with and adapt to.
Will salespeople no longer be necessary in the future? I highly doubt it. However, the way salespeople provide value will absolutely have to change. When you look at what the Buyers of today are really seeking from salespeople, it is the potential service they can provide in terms of solving their problems, the speed of doing so, minimizing their time investment, and helping them to avoid buyer’s remorse. In Chapter 6 of my book, Lean Selling, I compare multiple categories of customer service against this view of sales as a service. The differences between the two? None.
With this in mind, it is surprising that more companies have not invested in recasting sales as the service that it can be for Buyers. Most forward-thinking companies have invested significant time and money in improving their customer service, recognizing the immense value to the organization that quality customer service provides. Since so much time and money have been invested in the customer service side of the customer-facing equation, why are there not similar investments in the Buyers that are soon to become customers?
It is difficult for Buyers to make a decision about which company, product, or vendor they should trust to solve their problems, and this indecision is what usually leads to such long, unpredictable sales cycles. Salespeople should recognize they are relieving a huge stress for Buyers by providing the information they require to make both a logical, left-brained decision, as well as an emotional, right-brained decision, which is largely driven by a desire to mitigate the risk of making a poor decision. (For more on the left brain, right brain aspect of Buyers and how to involve both aspects of your Buyer’s decision-making process, read my blog post on the topic: The Buyer with Two Brains: The Buyer Decision. )
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By acknowledging this trend for professional selling, and treating sales as the service it is, your company can quickly differentiate itself from your competitors in the eyes of your Buyers. The real question we should be asking is not whether salespeople are becoming obsolete but whether your sales process can adapt to provide the actual value your Buyers are seeking.