Sellers are born. This is a sentence a lot of people is using in order to justify that not all can do sales activities. But is this really true? I guess if you see good sales person as somebody who is able to manipulate buyer into sales transaction, then abilities of using communication, relationship building, emotions manipulation as tools to achieve transaction, can be distributed unevenly around population. Potentially this can lead us to believe that genes are owner of this distribution. And the one with the best genes are born sellers. But this is not corporate sells at all. This is us leaving it to limbic system to do our job of making rational choices and by doing so being led by manipulation and presentation rather than value creation.
But in business world on a long run (short term trends are sometimes driven by faster emotional, relationship-based manipulation), value creation is driving force. And in order to drive value creation in sells process, sellers need to reorder their capacity profile in order to emphasize their credibility and consistency over relationship, without breaking that relationship, since without maintaining healthy relationship, you create obstacles in communication and action model, that can distort value proposition for you.
Before we entered into fast moving, information packed era of digital transformation, artificial intelligence assistance, consumption driven business models, sellers role as information bearing, company supporters and generally nice guy/lady to work with and sometimes hang out with (at some point it could led to only hang out with and do no business with it), was appropriate for transaction oriented sells process, with level of transaction being small.
Things have changed, industry changed, times changed. Sellers? Not so much. But they need to. They need to grab their role as trusted advisors. In order to do that they need to understand their customers. They need to understand their business drive, their business model, their market position, their culture and industry they work with. On the other hand, they should move from feature knowledge to value bringing knowledge of their offering. Matching those with customer environment is a must. If they don’t see it, they should change company or get out of selling business.
Sells techniques can be learned. Human behavior is based on patterns, so it can be explained and learned to. Industry knowledge and business practice is based on models and practice of humans, so it can also be learned. By observing and playing game of selling, you gain experience and you start to recognize patterns easier.
By putting effort into preparing sells teams to move into end game (if we use chess analogy), companies can move with their sales teams into it. Closing the game is usually that 5% unknown territory where boys/girls are separated from man/women. But if you do it right, your seller position should be better then competition, but there is always possibility of some super hero move from competition. But we should look at general picture and close 7/10, which is good in 80-20% world.
Sellers born? In the world of information where artificial intelligence is daily exploring human mistakes in our gut-driven decision system, credibility should be earned and not improvised. Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard.
Are you companies ready to invest into sales and move them in trusted advisory zone?