Successful selling no longer follows the playbook that worked even just a few years ago. The rules have changed here, too, yet most organizations and the salespeople they employ haven't made the transition.
Because of the wealth of information on the web, the salesperson no longer controls the relationship between buyer and seller. Now, buyers are in charge. They can see what your CEO is saying on Twitter and LinkedIn. They can check out independent blogs to learn what it's really like to be a customer. Buyers actively go around salespeople, gathering information themselves and engaging a company representative only at the last possible moment. By then, they are armed with tons of information. In the old days, salespeople controlled the information. Now it's the buyers who have the leverage.
It gets worse. As you probably know, salespeople have a bad reputation in the marketplace. Except for salespeople themselves, almost everyone I talk to associates sales with being hustled and taken advantage of. They think of dealing with a salesperson as a purely adversarial relationship. The very word sales summons sleazy connotations, so people get defensive immediately to protect themselves.
During the past several years, hundreds of people have asked me to extend the ideas in this book to the area of sales. Almost every day, I hear from people who have transformed their organizations' marketing ...