In the new business world where buyer behaviours have changed, customers are now in control. Since no one is interested in being sold to, sales people are no longer really sales people in the most basic definition of the term. Their roles and responsibilities have changed. Today’s sales people are vastly different from those of the past—or at least, they should be.
Instead of pressuring people to buy, manipulating them into sales, and using aggressive sales tactics to meet their quotas, sales people are now guides in the buying cycle. Their roles are to help customers make the best buying decisions for their needs. Their roles are to help, recommend, and suggest—not sell.
In order to adapt to the new way people buy, here are some tips for guiding customers through the buying cycle.
1. Understand the Buying Cycle
First and foremost, to be able to guide customers through the buying cycle effectively, you need to understand the buying cycle and know which stage of the cycle your customers are currently in. How you help a customer at the beginning of the cycle will be very different from how you help someone in the middle or at the end of the cycle.
Those in the middle of the cycle, for example, won’t be quite ready to buy and you may have good success offering them customer success stories and product comparison sheets in order to help them make informed decisions. On the other hand, customers at the end of the cycle may need demos or free trials in order for you to seal the deal.
2. Add Value
Customers today can find virtually all of the information they need online. They can find customer reviews and testimonials, product features and benefits, prices, and almost anything else that they need in order to make their purchasing decisions.
In order to effectively guide customers through the buying cycle, you must be able to go above and beyond the online information that can be easily accessed. You need to offer value that your customers won’t be able to find elsewhere. Otherwise, they won’t have much reason to engage with you while they’re making their decisions.
Being a subject matter expert and keeping up with industry trends and news can help you add value. In addition, taking your customers’ unique pain points, needs, interests, and challenges into account when helping them make decisions can also add value to your sales. Though the internet can tell them which product is the most cost effective or efficient, it cannot tell them which product would be best for their unique circumstances—but you can.
3. Put the Customers First
It has been drummed into you that you must always focus on making the sale when interacting with customers—do whatever it takes to close the deal, don’t take no for an answer. Your manager and the high-ups at your company are counting on you to meet your targets and generate more and more revenue every month. Naturally, this can make you focus on the sale when interacting with customers.
But in your new role as a sales person today, you have to change your mindset. Your first priority should be the customer and their needs, wants, and pain points. Above all, you should be working on finding a solution that best meets the customer’s needs—even if that isn’t in your best interest.
Customers today can smell an aggressive sales person who only thinks of them as numbers from a mile away. And they don’t want to do business with these types of unscrupulous sales professionals. Focusing on the customers’ needs while guiding customers through the buying cycle—instead of your own—will go a long way to building trust and credibility, and it will effectively help you close more deals in the long run.