The Problem With Sales

Many department stores have the same setup. There is carefully laid out merchandise, relaxing ambience and an army of ready salespeople on the floor. And they are all too eager to sell you. When the salesperson approaches you and starts selling prematurely, your guard may go up because:

  • You don’t know what you want yet
  • You are still looking for ideas
  • You are trying to understand what everything costs
  • You want to experience the products first
  • You don’t like sales pressure

The scenario is common not only in department stores but across industries. Salespeople are focused on selling. To the common salesperson, visitors look like buyers, regardless of where they are at in their mindset. Herein lies the problem with sales. They are always selling when people don’t like to be sold.

Selling does have its place, however, it comes at an appropriate time when the buyer is ready. Before this time, selling is the wrong tool to apply. It’s a mismatch of agendas. The buyer wants to feel comfortable and wants help buying. This means making it easy for them to get oriented with how your industry and products work. Then they want to be educated about the merits, shortfalls and comparisons between product offerings and your competition.

Selling prematurely is a misstep and often erodes trust quickly. The salesperson who is seeking to close has their place, but it is much later in the buyer’s process when they can actually be in a dialogue and mindset towards next steps with you. It is what we all feel when someone is not listening to us in a conversation and only pushes their own agenda.

Sales should be selling. That is their function. However, there needs to be a buying process which sets up the salesperson so that the conversations they do engage are relevant. It is a continuous process revolving around how the buyer comes to a place for the sales conversation to be relevant.

Think about your processes. How can your process provide value and confidence for buyers one step at a time? Are you introducing sales too early too often?

In our fast-moving world, trust can be built and destroyed quickly. Think it through to avoid missed opportunities.

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