Selling has drastically changed over the past couple decades, and it will continue to shift. This transformation has been due to changes in the buying behaviours of consumers. Control has moved from the seller to the buyer; buyers now want to be in charge of their own purchases and companies must alter their selling methods in order to adapt.
Now that the internet has taken over the old ways of knowledge consumption, consumers are researching products and services on their own. They’re reading up on companies, they’re comparing offerings, and they’re finding just about all the information they need on the web before they even get in touch with a sales person. You might be wondering what this fundamental shift in control means for the future of selling, so here are five things you should know. And to make management of your business easier, use ERP systems development.
1. Thought Leadership
Even though consumers are now gathering their own product data—something sales people used to provide—sales people are still needed, more than ever before and their jobs just got more difficult. Clients aren’t engaging sales people for basic information anymore, they’re expecting them to be experts in the field—to provide them with information that they could not find on their own through their web-based research methods. This means sales people need to become thought leaders with valuable knowledge in order to be a trusted source of information for consumers.
2. Sales Traits Are Changing
In the past, companies swooned over sales people who could be aggressive and manipulative—the employees who would stop at nothing to get that sale from a cold call or business meeting. However, the future of selling has become much more delicate. Customers are no longer being swayed by aggression; they’re looking for empathetic listeners who will put their needs first. They’re looking for sales people that they can form an emotional connection with, who they can trust, and who they genuinely like.
3. Stop Selling, Start Nurturing
Consumers no longer want to be sold to. So, in order to get their business, sales people need to start nurturing relationships with them before, during, and after the sale. Sales people can no longer just focus on giving a sales pitch, closing the deal, and moving on. They must provide information during the research phase, become a trusted source of information, close the deal through thoughtful and empathetic conversations, and then continue to nurture the relationship after the sale has closed through customer service, follow-ups, and feedback requests.
4. Selling Courses Will Become a Real Thing
Sales people used to be able to get well-paying jobs with only a high school diploma and the eagerness to learn. However, now that the future of selling has become more specialized and specific, colleges and universities have seen the demand for sales training courses and are responding with the creation of new business programs that focus on selling techniques. Companies in the future of selling will change their hiring practices to include education, since it’s going to be just as important as experience.
5. Science, Not Art
Knowing how to close a sale used to be seen as an art form. Either sales people had the personality traits needed to do it, or they didn’t. Now, however, selling has become more of a science. Advancements in technologies allow sales people to track, analyze, and measure their sales progress to increase performance. Reps are using online sales tools, psychology tests, and metrics to create efficient selling techniques, better understand their customers’ needs, and more appropriately forecast sales.
The Internet has revolutionized the world of business and selling. Consumers are now taking charge of their own purchasing decisions and the future of selling is going to continue to change. Companies must jump out of the past and into the future if they want to continue to generate revenue, attract customers, and beat out competitors.