Bought Not Sold

Most products and services are bought not sold.  The old strategy of building up a sales team is dying.  It is based on the assumption that we need to be sold.  Think about the last dozen items you bought.  Were you sold?  Did the persuasion of a salesperson and their skills become the deciding factor?

You bought what you wanted after you decided.  You decided because you picked what you believed was best.  With the internet, you can compare, research and solicit opinions quickly and conveniently.  The process involved educating yourself and seeing how the different brands you were entertaining were perceived and experienced by others.

Selling Would Be Disruptive

If a salesperson interrupted you without your request, this would be highly disruptive.  Your guard would go up.  It might be welcome at the right time.  However, it can be premature and damage your perception of a brand you might be entertaining.  It would feel like selling.

By the time you decide to buy, you are most likely able to talk intelligibly because you educated yourself and are ready to engage.  You are buying.

The Invisible And Hard Work Of Positioning

You are a buyer.  Transfer the sympathy of your experience to your role as a seller.  Your job is not to sell.  It is to position and brand your product or service to be the best in the mind of the buyer.  Once you are perceived as the best, the job shifts to engaging the sales process.  Enough trust has been built by your brand to allow for your buyer to move forward with confidence.

Smart organizations know how to position on the internet.  It is the buying arena.  The convenience of search, social media and content make it easy for a buyer to build a perspective.  They are looking for validation and value.

The hard work comes from:

  • Positioning to get found
  • Positioning with valuable content
  • Positioning with testimonials
  • Positioning with education

The picture your buyer gets from your brand and your fans builds the credibility you need for selling.  It is the new and more efficient way to sell.

Think Inbound Over Outbound

Assume your buyer does not want you to bug them unless they are ready.  Hence, you are constrained to develop an inbound marketing approach.  You must generate awareness, foster trust and convert the sale by developing and walking the buying process.

This system is different than building an outbound process which is typically heavily reliant on sales people interrupting and following up with prospects.  They are two different systems catering to different eras.

Today’s era invites an inbound marketing approach.  The design, monitoring and refinement of this system involves digital feedback loops and automation.

If products and services are bought rather than sold, then having the right process that maps to today’s reality is both sensible and strategic.

How have you observed the shift to buying versus selling?

Published by Don Dalrymple

I grow businesses through partnerships and executive coaching. I work with partners and clients on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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