Ask most salespeople how they sell, and they’ll say, “I sell by being a trusted advisor.”
It seems like a fine enough selling mantra. But probe a little deeper, and what you’ll discover is that when people say this, they mean that they ask their customers lots of questions, use those questions to diagnose the customer’s needs, and then present a solution that fits the criteria.
This approach does you and your customer a disservice—and it’s the antithesis of what it takes to master sales conversations today. To articulate value to your buyers, it’s no longer sufficient to say, “Tell me what you want; I’ll get it for you.” Buyers now want salespeople who will tell them what they should want. They want you to do the heavy lifting of sifting through all the information out there and delivering insight into what they’re missing that will improve their performance.
To rise to the demands of what great selling requires now, and in the future, it’s no longer enough to simply follow your documented sales process, checking the boxes along the way. You need to understand and master a new, diverse set of conversation techniques that go beyond a sales process and consider what decisions your buyers are weighing in their Customer Deciding Journey.
When you’re first talking to a prospect, for example, you need to tell a powerful, differentiated story that breaks their status quo and persuades them to choose you. But that’s only the first step.
You then need to understand how to justify your decision to executive decision-makers. And as deals advance, it becomes more challenging to handle pricing pressures and avoid unnecessary discounting. You’re often dealing with multi-party buying committees and unless you build consensus around the buying decision, any one person can derail your efforts.
All of this requires you to master the appropriate messaging, content, and skills to respond to the distinct buyer psychology that defines each moment in your buyer’s decision-making process. It requires a diverse set of skills, sharpened with the situational awareness to know when and how to adapt from one moment to the next.
Such mastery of your craft is similar to how an elite athlete must develop both their physical technique and their mental resilience to manage a variety of challenging situations, against many different types of opponents. Or the way a star performer uses specific skills, depending on the role and how they need to appeal to their audience.
The same idea applies to sales. Only when you achieve mastery across every conversation and every situation in the Customer Deciding Journey will you become an elite performer.
In this collection of science-backed resources, you’ll discover counterintuitive but effective approaches that will improve your sales and marketing conversations. You may not find the most popular techniques here, but you will find what’s most effective, based on science and research.