smartcatThe customer is NOT always right.

Welcome to the age of the informed consumer, or the digital buyer … or “Buyer 2.0.”

Once upon a time, clients looked to salespeople for information. Now, with a quick Google search and a little time on our websites and social media, they can learn all about us.

Buyer 2.0 is very good at homework. In fact, 86 percent of business buyers engage in research independent of the sales cycle. Before they make contact with us, prospects have usually checked us out, compared pricing, read a white paper or two, listened to a webinar, and/or viewed a demo. They’ve also researched what our competitors have to offer.

Some take this to mean that our prospects and clients don’t really need us anymore—that the automation of selling has made salespeople irrelevant.

Not true!

Tell Them Where It Hurts

When prospects come to us, they have problems that need to be solved—pain that needs addressing. They know it hurts, but they’re often unclear about exactly why and how to correct the problem. This is where a great salesperson can really make a difference. We know our industries, our products, and (most importantly) our clients. So with a little investigating, we can show them the source of their pain and offer solutions to alleviate it.

Who’s in Control?

Technology—and all of the information it provides—has made buyers a little … well, cocky. They know what they want (or, at least, think they do), so they want to be in the driver’s seat during the sales process.

The problem is that buyers don’t always know exactly what they need from us, or how to get it most efficiently and cost-effectively. They don’t know the traps to avoid and what doesn’t work. They usually don’t fully understand the commitment needed (from themselves and their teams) to implement solutions that guarantee knock-your-socks-off ROI. But we do.

It’s our job as smart, strategic sales pros to deliver value—real value. And technology won’t do that for us, nor will it give us a huge advantage over our competitors, who (let’s face it) have access to the same gadgets, gizmos, and applications.

That’s right, your most powerful deal-closing tool is still you—a living, breathing salesperson who can ask the right questions, apply years of experience and wisdom, and offer tailored solutions that make sense for each client.

So go ahead and let your client drive your sales process. Just make sure you’re there to navigate.

For more on how to close deals by striking the right balance between technology and relationships, get your copy of my new book, Pick Up the Damn Phone!: How People, Not Technology, Seal the Deal­—now available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble.

Comment Here

Has a prospect ever come to you, mistakenly thinking he or she knew exactly what was needed to solve a problem? How did you uncover the real problem—and help to solve it?