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The New Breed Of Sales Professionals: Part 1

In this three-part series, we cover three tactics essential to the modern salesperson: disrupting buyer inertia, harnessing the conversion power of advocacy, and leveraging the psychology of purchase decisions.

Part two: the power of advocacy in converting leads.

Part three: the psychology of purchase decisions.

The world of sales is changing and that change is paving the way for a new breed of sales professionals.

“Who here likes talking to salespeople?”

Try asking that question the next time you find yourself with a group of friends or colleagues. Better yet, try it the next time you happen to be in a room of salespeople! No other question seems to quieten a room faster.

For his bestselling book, To Sell Is Human, author Dan Pink asked people the first word that came to mind when they heard ‘sales’ or ‘selling’.

Of the 25 most offered words – ‘pushy’ topped the list, followed closely by ‘yuck’, ‘hard’ ‘difficult’ and ‘ugh’ – 80% had negative connotations. This overwhelming sentiment is likely due to the unsavoury experiences many of us have had with salespeople over the years, who we felt were primarily self-interested and manipulative, and offered little value.

The good news is, the world of sales is changing and that change is paving the way for a new breed of sales professionals. The dodgy used car salesman (who all modern sellers are still living in the shadow of) flourished in a buying environment that no longer exists.

“The dodgy used car salesman flourished in a buying environment that no longer exists.”

Modern buyers have unprecedented access to information and choice when it comes to products and services. They’ve shed their desk phones and voicemail in favour of texting and social media. The once-trusted sterling opinions of vendors, journalists and entrepreneurs have been cast aside in favour of peer insights.

As a result, research shows that today’s buyer is about 60% of the way towards their purchase decision before your sales organisation gets engaged.

So are sellers doomed? No, because there are many ways you can still strongly influence the buyer’s journey.

But if you wish to continue to thrive and meet the changing needs of your buyers, you’ll need to master three key principles.

In this post, we’ll cover the first of those three principles – disrupting buyer inertia.

What Sir Isaac Newton can teach us about selling

In 1687, English physicist and mathematician Sir Isaac Newton described his now famous three laws of motion. The first law described a property known as inertia, the tendency for objects to keep moving in the same direction unless a strong enough force causes them to change.

Applied to modern business, inertia, or status quo bias, is a powerful force that keeps most companies using the same practices, policies and technologies they’ve always used.

It is the enemy of the modern sales machine.

“Inertia is a powerful force that keeps most companies using the same practices.”

The problem with inertia is that not only does it make companies more resistant to change, but it means that prospective buyers will actively deflect attempts to garner their attention.

In a world where the number of vendors in virtually every space has increased exponentially in recent years, tuning out the message you’ve worked so hard to craft is a necessary defence mechanism designed to preserve their focus.

The fact of the matter is customers have come to expect so much more.

Engage your target audience with modern sales approaches

So how can modern sellers disrupt the inertia of prospective buyers?

Some of the best sales and marketing organisations in the world use tactics rooted in basic psychology and human behaviour. For example, ditching your traditional product pitch, which is often too complex and nuanced for buyers to quickly understand, in favour of messages that ‘go down easier’ and take mere moments to resonate with your target customer.

Messages that are customer-centric, and rooted in pain and polarising concepts, or that use formulaic approaches more easily, pierce your customer’s armour. This means talking about what your target customer wants, not what your product or service is.

“Messages that are customer-centric pierce your customer’s armour.”

For example, suppose you were selling an employee performance feedback solution. Instead of banging on about your ‘all-in-one web solution for feedback, coaching and recognition at work’, you can lead with messages about what their employees and employers would value in performance feedback, and how to bridge the gap between what they have and what they want – with your product, obviously.

And when it comes to delivering those helpful, relationship-building messages, the key is to ensure your sales team is able to use modern approaches designed not only to attract, but engage your target audience. Video or personalised account-based marketing (ABM) strategies are quite effective at disrupting inertia when combined with a high-impact message.

Curious to learn more about the other two principles: time as our most precious commodity and understanding the psychology of purchase decisions?

Subscribe to our blog today – part two of this post will be dropping soon, so stay tuned!

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