Selling isn’t getting any easier. With just a little more than half of all sales reps meeting or exceeding their quotes these days, sales organizations are struggling to keep up with constantly changing buyer expectations. The gap between buyers and sellers continues to grow, and many customers today are stuck in an apathy loop.
But it’s not all bad news for sellers. Today’s sales environment presents incredible opportunities for organizations that understand what buyers want. And the thing buyers need more than anything else is perspective.
What today’s buyers need from sales teams
Successful selling has always been about meeting buyers’ needs. Organizations that align the sales process with buyer expectations close deals; those that don’t, go to the back of the line. Of course, the challenge today is that buyer expectations have evolved in a rapidly changing business climate faster than sales organizations can keep up.
According to the new CSO Insights report, “The Growing Buyer-Seller Gap: Results of the 2018 Buyer Preferences Study,” current buyers are most likely to reward sellers who provide insights and perspective during the sales process. To do that, sellers must understand the buyer’s business, demonstrate excellent communication skills and focus on post-sale success.
Adding perspective is the best way for sellers to differentiate themselves from the competition. Perspective matters a lot these days when buyers come armed with information and can’t tell the difference between most vendors. The ability to deliver informed insights separates top sales teams from the rest of the pack in today’s marketplace.
Perspective adds value to relationships
So, what is perspective? Simply put, it’s a seller point of view that establishes credibility with buyers, engages them in a deeper way as a problem-solver, and helps them achieve their objectives. It’s an expert combination of mindset, insight and experience that adds value to the sales process, and differentiates sellers and their opportunities.
When sales professionals bring perspective to the sales process, they equip customers to achieve organizational goals because they’re able to see challenges in new ways. Most importantly for sales organizations, perspective earns the right to engage customers on a deeper level.
Perspective could be data, insights or information that helps buyers see their challenges and solutions in a new light or causes them to think differently. It could be a case study or an innovative idea. It might mean challenging a customer’s assumptions, providing an unanticipated solution, or talking to clients about the obstacles they will face post-decision.
Selling with perspective doesn’t happen naturally. It requires intentionality and a clear understanding of how a perspective message contributes to sales success:
- Perspective is the evolution of solution selling – not its replacement.
Rumors about the demise of solution selling come from a fundamental misunderstanding of today’s buyers. Buyers still want advice about solutions – but they also want sellers to provide insights about how those solutions solve their problems and help grow their businesses. Solution-based selling isn’t dead. It’s evolving, and perspective-based selling is the next stage.
- Perspective requires both mindset and behavioral changes.
The use of perspective requires sales teams to think and act differently. For example, most sellers are mentally conditioned to simply close the deal. But with perspective, the goal isn’t just the deal in front of you right now. It’s also about building a foundation for long-term success with the buyer. On the behavioral side, perspective transitions sellers from pitching products to win-win interactions that position the sales organization as a true partner in the buyer’s success.
- Perspective can happen at various points in the sale process.
The introduction of perspective isn’t limited to a single point in the sale process, and it should be customized to the prospect and situation. In fact, buyers are evenly split about the stage they prefer sellers to offer new ideas, so it’s important for to tailor the use of perspective to each buyer’s decision-making style. For example, a buyer who is analytical decision-maker would rather receive perspective once the data and needs have been discussed; a buyer who is more of a risk-taker might want perspective at the onset to demonstrate a creative and bold partnership.
Buyers aren’t mysterious. They know what they want – and increasingly, they want sellers capable of offering perspectives that benefit their businesses. By providing buyers with the right combination of mindset, insight and experience, you can differentiate your sales organization from the competition and develop more meaningful relationships with customers.
We’ve been studying the idea of perspective for years, and we’re about to incorporate the concept into our core sales methodology. Stay tuned for a major announcement in the coming weeks!