2A Perfect Sales Storm

Your chances of getting struck by lightning go up if you stand under a tree, shake your fist at the sky, and say “Storms suck!”

—Johnny Carson

The sales profession is in the midst of a perfect storm. Buyers have more powermore tools, more information, more at stake, and more control over the sales process than at any time in history.

Technology is accelerating disruptive change at an ever-increasing pace, creating fear and insecurity that leaves buyers clinging to the status quo. Technology also serves the purpose of lowering barriers to entry, thus releasing a relentless onslaught of “me-too” competitors. Differentiating on the attributes of products, services, or prices is fleeting at best and more difficult than ever before.

To buyers, it all looks the same.

Legions of salespeople and their leaders are coming face-to-face with a cold, hard truth: what once gave salespeople a competitive edge—controlling the sales process, command of product knowledge, an arsenal of technology, and a great pitch—are no longer guarantees of success.

Meanwhile, buyers have lost all patience for kitchen-sink data dumps of features and benefits and canned product pitches. They expect more from their interactions with salespeople. Buyers want to emerge from sales conversations with value beyond a dissertation of the rep's marketing brochures.

In response to this shift in buyer expectations, salespeople are being told that they need to offer insight, teach, challenge, and ...

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