If you are going to sell successfully, you have to be perceived as being your buyer’s peer. This means you can’t be “just a salesperson,” and you can’t be a “vendor.” You have to be someone with the business acumen and the situational knowledge to know how to help your client get better results. Let’s look at these components.
If you are in sales, you are no longer just a salesperson. You are a business person. You need to understand the way business works. A few weeks ago some person on Twitter described one of my posts as being “full of jargon.” But it wasn’t full of jargon; it was full of business vocabulary. Business has it’s own language and it’s own math. You have to acquire a deep understanding of the conceptual frameworks, the language, and the math.
Do you understand how business works? Do you know the language? Can you do the math?
To sell effectively, you also need situational knowledge. This is something more than experience. It’s enough experience to know what choices are available, what choices are appropriate, and what trade-offs your client is going to have to make. You need to be the subject matter expert in your space. There should never be information parity between you and the buyer, Internet or not. You have more and more varied experience.
Do you have the experience to know the range of choices available to your clients to produce the results they need? Are you capturing and sharing what you’ve learned while helping your clients?
There is a reason that sales leaders have fallen in love with insight. It makes you a peer. But a slide deck doesn’t make you a peer anymore than a child putting on his parent’s shoes and coat makes them a grown up. Insight is hard won. It takes time. It takes experience.
If you are a salesperson, what are you going to do this week to develop your business acumen? How are you going to ensure that you capture the learning from the experiences you have helping your clients so that you can apply them?
If you are a sales leader, how are you going to help your force gain the business acumen they need to be a peer? How are you going to ensure your team acquires the experiences they need to become a peer? Spend this week operating as a peer, not a vendor! I’ll see you back here next time!
P.S. I recorded a seriously valuable In the Arena podcast with David Bradford, CEO of HireVue last Friday. David is the consummate operator, and maybe the most effective networker I have ever met. His book Up Your Game: Six Timeless Principle for Networking Your Way to the Top is outstanding. Give it a listen. Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, and leave me a rating here!
P.P.S. My friends Mike Weinberg, Mark Hunter, Andy Paul, and Miles Austin have a webinar scheduled for May 20th at 1:00 PM ET. The title is The Fastest Route to Closing More Deals. I have immense respect for all four of these guys. Sign up and reserve your spot here: http://www.fillthefunnel.com/the-fastest-way-to-closing-more-deals/ Read Mike’s post about the content of the webinar where he promises no slides and his willingness (desire) to start an argument: http://newsalescoach.com/2014/05/free-live-video-conversation-four-sales-experts-on-the-fastest-route-to-closing-more-deals/.