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21st Century Sales: What’s Changed, What Hasn’t

21st_Century_Sales_What’s_Changed,_What_Hasn’tApproaching new prospects with a customer-needs focus used to be the smartest thing you could do. No longer. 

Today it’s the only thing you can do, the only way to win an appointment with a decision influencer. 

Rewind back to the 1990s. It was that recently that prospects needed to meet with a salesperson to learn about the products and services that company was offering. Yes, there were brochures, and sometimes a company would make a brochure available by mail to prospects, but to get questions answered and to learn about specific applications, buyers knew they needed salespeople.

Today, that notion is downright quaint. Product information, answers to most questions, insights into specific applications via case studies, and user reviews/raves/rants are all found online. Prospects learn almost everything they need to know faster, and with more accuracy and reliability, on the web than they do from salespeople.

They can make a buying decision quicker, easier, and with less annoyance without a salesperson than with one!

As a result, it’s pretty rare these days that a salesperson can get an audience with a buyer to talk about what he or she is selling. What used to be the path to a weak deal at a dirtball price—talking about what you’re selling—is now even worse: It just gets your email, your voicemail, and you deleted.

But all the marvelous new technology we can conjure will never change the human dimensions of selling…

  • Prospects love to talk about their needs, especially with people who are willing to slow down and understand those needs.
  • Prospects appreciate help, especially from people who are knowledgeable and experienced.
  • Prospects crave opportunities to bounce ideas around and collaborate with people beyond their internal team.
  • Prospects are ready to buy—and pay a premium—for solutions that are custom-fit to their situation and their specs.

Are you that salesperson? Then for you, nothing has changed.

Has your world been turned upside-down in the 21st century? Then you’re not that salesperson.

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Topics: Sales