Leave it to the unthinking to blow the sale. They approach people as a salesperson trying to use charisma, energy or hype. Once you do this, it is too late. You don’t get second chances with someone who has already established a perception about you in their mind.
“A mind is a very hard thing to change.” ~ Al Ries
If you are perceived as a salesperson, then you have set the customer up to say, “No”.
What if you were perceived as the expert instead? What if you owned this position in their mind? You would be entering into a dialogue rather than a scripted denial typical of someone who does not trust salespeople.
Experts Show Thought Leadership
The barrier for salespeople is that they have to do the hard work of having thought leadership. Their methods are not scalable. They depend on up close and personal contact, which is not something most people want to give away in the new economy. Our attention is scarce and we protect it as consumers fiercely.
What people do look for is content. When they search on Google or find information on social media, they are reading words that help them think and solve problems. This is what millions of people are busy doing all day.
For the salesperson, they can harness this natural inclination of their customers to research and educate themselves to be positioned for building trust and eventually making the sale.
The Smart Salesperson Has A Platform Which Precedes Her
In the days of old, a powerful person would send gifts and an entourage ahead to prepare their entrance. It was a form of positioning so that by the time they arrived, they were ascribed power, respect and honor. They did this not out of mere ceremony, but because it worked.
You can’t tell people to respect you, much less buy from you. They have to want to do so. This comes from how they perceive you. They want to know if you are valuable or will waste their time. They want to know about you before they meet you.
The best way to position today is allowing your platform to precede you. Your platform is what packages your content. It is what allows a stranger to learn about your expertise and think about their problems in a focused way all the while ascribing expertise to the author.
A great platform has content which continues to grow and nurture people that are getting to know you over time. This is how trust is built and this is how your position in the mind as an expert rather than a salesperson develops.
The content has to be engaging and pull a reader into further desire to read more and learn more. With an arsenal of content in the form of articles that are integrated, white papers that are world-class in design and substance and teaching that provides practical solutions, a salesperson can share each of these appropriately at various touch points in the sales process. Content is the backdrop and springboard tool that is used in conjunction with the interpersonal touches the salesperson naturally provides.
Also, the content works 24/7 and is an asset which a person can connect with anytime at their own convenience.
The smart salesperson has such a system which can be adapted and used in many different sales situations to provide value. If a prospective customer has a problem, they can search their library of content instantly and send a note with a link to a valid article or content piece.
This is positioning, rather than selling. This makes selling easier and more natural. A virtual pipeline develops over time and the salesperson is perceived as an expert.
What It Takes
We have seen mere salespeople become experts as we partner with them and help them build a platform that connects and engages with their audience. They have a growing resource that precedes them like royalty of old.
It takes a commitment to build a platform and use it intimately in the sales process.
Are you still selling the hard way or would you like to position instead? What holds you back?