I don’t care what you say…and Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Thu, Feb 14, 2013

Sales metrics12”, 32”, 40”?  So, how much snow did you actually get at your house last weekend? 

In Vermont we received a paltry 12-15” depending where you stand on the hill, but there’s PLENTY of snow on every trail at Stratton for the upcoming President’s Week.  The NH beach was hit pretty hard with sustained 60mph winds which, with the super high tides, caused about 3 feet of sand to disappear from my beach, mix in with 35” of snow and head directly to my front door.  Well, maybe it was not just my house…but shoveling most of the day on Sunday made it feel like the storm singled out just one house.  This storm will be good fodder for lots of summer stories over the next few years of “remember back when…” .  Of course, by that time, 35” might have become 48”, and the time without power might be exaggerated to “weeks” and not “days”. 

Summer VT & NH Stories…

I can already hear the exaggerated stories this summer... “I don’t care what you say, the winta’ of 2103 was the worst on record.  No comparison to ’78!”
…and so on and so on.  Surely, the Boys on the Bench down at the Winhall General Store will attest with conviction in their hearts and a beer in their hands that the Blizzard of ’13 was the worst on record…until, of course, the next one.

Which brings me to the comment of… “I don’t care what you say?”, that directly correlates to why the world of Sales has changed so dramatically over the last 10 years of increasingly heavy Google search use, and then again over the last three with the impact of social media and mobile devices.  

Back in the day, when products were actually “sold”, the salesperson was the font of all knowledge-at least that was supposedly the role we played.  If a buyer wanted something, the salesperson would jump in the car, do an initial visit, tell the buyer what they needed to know, leave a brochure or a few data sheets, and then the selling process began.   Back then, Marketing’s job was to provide collaterals and campaigns to salespeople, carpet-bomb unsuspecting prospects with material that they didn’t want or need and hope that something would stick.  The job of the salesperson was then to find those few sticky opportunities and work their magic.

The roles of Marketing & Sales have totally changed. 

sales and marketing rolesToday, Marketing does most of the targeting, even micro-targeting, questioning and informing, while the job of the professional salesperson is now positioned to where it should have been all along-Discovery, Prove, Propose & Close-bottom of the funnel stuff. Unfortunately, that is not always the case especially since as a way too general statement, no one really believes most salesguys.  As a class, including the infamous used car salesguys, we sometimes have a reputation only slightly better than auto mechanics and lawyers.  Given this perception, as a profession, it’s our job as today's proactive salespeople to recognize what our job is and to focus entirely on providing the customer with want they want, even though that potential customer may be of the “I don’t care what you say” attitude.  Today, buyers rarely trust marketers and do only slightly better with the average salesperson.  As a result, in 2011...

  • 93% of B2B buyers began their buying process by searching Google
  • 27% of B2B buyers use social media to compare or check prices
  • 30% of B2B buyers refer to social media for product reviews
  • 78% of consumers trust peer reviews from social media
  • 14% of consumers trust marketing claims

Advertising that works
If you want to discover more about the exciting changes in today's and tomorrow's world of Marketing, you absolutely must read the cover article of current edition of the Harvard Business Review that came out yesterday.  I stayed up half of last night devouring this.   It will stretch any thoughts that you may be have about being complacent.

The bottom line of all of this is that success in Sales today is all about change.  Change our in roles, change in the technologies we use, change in our skills, and change in focusing on the customer’s objectives and not on us or our products.  Then add to all of that the requirement that there needs to be a continuous adaptive thought process on the part of the most successful salespeople to willingly understand that they will need to change again…and again...over the next three, five and ten years.

This weekend, take an hour...

Do me (and more importantly, yourself) a favor, and take just one hour this weekend and figure out what you’re going to do this year-it’s still only February btw-to accomplish the following:

  • Considering “I don’t care what you say” may well be the attitude, how are you going to change?
  • What are the skills that you need to improve in order to deal with “I don’t care what you say”?
  • Do you need to become a better listener?
  • Do you need to hone your process tools?
  • Do you need to add hard data and testimonials to your value proposition?

And then, finally, ask yourself this tough question and try to be very objective, “Would you buy from you?”  If only "maybe" or "no", lay out a plan immediately to change whatever that issue is.

Welcome to 2013...and Good Selling! 
   -January was a real solid month, February's shaping up.
   -Remember:  Q1 always sets the tone, pace & success for the year

Jack Derby 


Head Coach
Linked In and Sales

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Tags: Sales Optimization, sales management, sales management effectiveness, sales effectiveness, sales enablement, sales management training, sales listening