Salespeople, and pushy salespeople in particular, don’t have the best reputation. But that doesn’t mean they don’t matter and form an integral cog in any business. I recently read that salespeople are being ‘consigned to history’ but I don’t believe that for a minute. While technology is getting better and customers are becoming more empowered; aren’t your salespeople now more important than ever?
As consumers, I’m sure most of us will do a little bit of research into our purchases before we make them and often the bigger the spend, the more time we dedicate to reading reviews, scouring product specifications and watching videos.
Yet, while the sales profession has changed, it doesn’t mean that salespeople are entirely redundant, and I don’t believe that they ever will be. Here are 4 key reasons why.
1. Information isn’t knowledge
A quick Google search for any product or service will more than likely bring up a list of results from countless review websites, bloggers and fans either liking or loathing a product. Consumers these days are more aware and have instant access to reams of online product information in a few clicks. It is surprising how much we trust online reviews from people ‘just like us’ and make our decision based on commentary from like-minded individuals online.
But information isn’t knowledge and features aren’t benefits. That is exactly what salespeople can provide, the knowledge of real world applications, the benefits that can be realized and the return on investment. This is one of the big reasons why we still (and will continue to) need salespeople with clear-cut experience and knowledge from other customers to relate to and apply to new customers.
2. H2H not B2B or B2C
I’m sure you’ve all seen this floating around the Internet, that the traditional B2B and B2C sales are long gone and that H2H (or Human to Human) sales are taking precedence. It makes perfect business sense as salespeople can empathize with fellow humans, share problems and suggest solutions. Businesses don’t feel the pressure of hitting target, closing deals and keeping morale high. Humans do. Salespeople should be on hand with the ability to understand the complex nature of their fellow human being and be able to solve their pains, concerns and problems.
B2B and B2C have both been around for years and have obviously worked, but maybe it is time to take a different point of view. It is often the forward thinking ones among us that encounter early success. H2H isn’t just relevant for sales, but also marketing. It can be as simple as making sure that your communication is simple and easy to relate to, even conversational in tone. Your business’ story should pull on the heartstrings and encourage a call to action. Connecting with customers can sometimes sound difficult, but it is often the little things that we remember most that make customers act.
3. Identify pain points
This is where salespeople really come into their own and can spot pain points before customers even know they are suffering. With products that can save time, money and effort, customers often don’t realize that there may be a better way of doing things until a salesperson picks up the phone.
Customers can sometimes fall at your feet with problems that need solving and salespeople are there to dust them off, pick up the pieces and solve their issues with the right products or services. Asking the right questions and providing solid answers can often be all a customer needs to say ‘yes’ and commit to a sale.
4. Share wisdom
Self-educating only goes so far in the decision making process. A sales department knows the ins and outs of their industry, understands competitor offerings and can adjust their sales pitch accordingly. While customers don’t expect a hard sell, salespeople should be sharing knowledge that is insightful, helpful and informative, adding value at every step of the sales process.
A good salesperson instills trust in a customer with an understanding and appreciation of their need for knowledge and insight. Why would product A work for them? What benefits would they realize? Why is this product made from X and not Y? How have companies similar to theirs used product A? These are just a couple of the questions salespeople should be on hand to answer.
So it seems clear to me that salespeople are still needed, even in the modern business environment of today, but what are your thoughts? Maybe you agree with me or even disagree entirely! I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.