18
Aug
08

Sales Revolution! Co-Conspiracy!

The Sales profession is going through another major transition.

 

Forty years ago, salespeople were professional visitors. They followed a pre-determined route, collecting orders from customers. Sales main responsibility was to make sure customers knew what products were available.

 

At some point, the concept of features and benefits was introduced. The salesperson’s job changed to that of educator: educating customers about features and benefits so that they could make decisions about the best products for them.

 

Aggressive application of the features and benefits concept pushed the salesperson into the role of “Trusted Advisor”. In this role, the salesperson probed to discover unmet needs the customer may have. “What keeps you up at night?” became a standard question; with the theory that once a need is discovered and matched with a benefit, a sale is made.

 

Now, sales is transitioning again. This time the salesperson fills the role of “Co-Conspirator”, requiring a broader approach to the selling relationship. In this evolution, the salesperson and customer engage in a relationship where the objective is to align as many shared goals as possible in order to make the salesperson and the customer both more effective.

 

Cutting edge salespeople understand this approach and use it to marginalize their challengers and minimize price competition. Transforming transactions to encounters is something these people have been doing for years. Now, a combination of factors makes this more and more possible for broader-based consumer markets.

 

What are your experiences with these trends?

 

 

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