We’ve all taken many sales courses over the years. They all taught us to find the customer’s need, pain or problem and then demonstrate that our product or service is the best solution. They also taught us to find the real decision makers, the people with the power to make the purchase, and essentially make them like us—you know the cliches, “people buy from people they like”. Those approaches worked very well over the last 20 to 30 years and we all made a lot of money using them. But something happened a while ago that has made those techniques as obsolete as a car phone antenna on the rear window of your Bimmer—the Internet.
The Internet, along with today’s blazingly fast fiber optic networks, has put an astounding amount of power in buyers’ hands. Buyers no longer rely on professional salespeople to help them define a solution or determine which is best. In fact, it is not uncommon for buyers to know more about your product and your competitors’ products than you do.
What does that mean for you?No matter how much they like you, buyers simply don’t need you very much, anymore. In their mind your value is helping them convince your management to lower your prices. And you know how well your management likes that.
What can you do to increase your value and boost your sales?
What can you do if your solutions, even custom solutions requiring talented professional services, get turned into commodities, such as dollars-per-hour? Clearly, if the old approaches aren’t working, it’s time for a new approach. It’s time to climb to the next rung on the value ladder; to go beyond providing solutions to problems. What is beyond solving a problem?
Achieving a goal.
Solutions are like bandages. They heal a pain. But, are people satisfied simply by not being in pain? Or, do they actually want to feel good, to go somewhere, to get something accomplished? You will be far more valuable to your customers if you help them achieve their goals, rather than just relieve their pain. But, goals can be achieved only by making changes that enable them. Now, more than ever, people and companies must continually change in order to remain competitive and to achieve their goals—whether business or personal.