Chapter 5. Sell, Sell, Sell

SALESPEOPLE TODAY FACE A tougher environment than in the past. First, today’s buyers are short on time. Prospects no longer have the time in their schedules to go out for long, expensed lunches with salespeople. Even in industries like pharmaceutical sales, where the tradition of face-to-face sales meetings is deeply rooted, the staff of doctors’ offices can’t always sit down for a full hour of lunch ’n’ learn as they did in the past. Often, a salesperson has only a few minutes of face time with a prospect.

Second, today’s buyers are more informed. Salespeople used to be able to position themselves as subject matter experts, with exclusive knowledge about a product or service. But with the Internet, prospects can get access to product information on their own, removing the mystique and value of personal connection that the salesperson used to control and provide.

If the need for information is not there, and the time to interact in person is limited, salespeople need new ways to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Salespeople must now be problem solvers, and they must be keenly aware of trends and the future issues that their customers may face. The ability to anticipate business problems, identify the potential effect, and offer tailored solutions has created the sales methodology called insight selling. For today’s salespeople, it’s not enough to be knowledgeable about their own product features; they must be knowledgeable about their customers’ ...

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