A great deal about selling has changed over the last few years, but in order to make sales you must understand how people buy. Buyers don’t need salespeople to provide information, they need salespeople who can provide insight and shed light on problems they don’t yet understand.
In order to compete today, you must understand that your first job is to completely change the context of how you and your product, solution, and organization are seen by a prospective customer.
In order to accomplish that, you need to adopt the following three attributes as core components of your sales playbook.
- Become an Authority. Prospects in today’s environment find you, not the other way around. In order to do this, you must start publishing, curating, and sharing useful information. Become recognized as an expert, and you will build authority.
Your consistent participation on sites like Quora, in appropriate LinkedIn Groups, and Google+ Communities can position you widely as an expert.
- Research Prospects. One of the ways you can thrive in the world of sales today is to make competitive intelligence an integral part of your sales process.
You must be able to demonstrate your ability to provide insight, and help prospects look at problems they don’t even know exist. When you can do research using a tool like RivalIQ or BuzzSumo and expertly point out glaring gaps in a prospect’s business, you can gain an invitation to help them better understand a specific issue before you ever try to sell them your global solution.
- Be Useful. The final element of the new sales playbook is to look for ways to be useful. This shouldn’t be as counterintuitive as it is to many sales people, but being useful quite often has little to do with your product or service.
Being useful may be unearthing research data that helps a client better understand their market. Being useful may mean introducing or connecting your client with someone in your social network who can help them address a personal issue. Being useful might be using a tool like BuzzSumo to help them build a list of prospective industry influencers - even though none of these things are directly related to the widget your company makes.
Being useful is one of the best ways to make a business case for changing the context of how you are seen by prospects and that’s how you dominate a market today.