In the last issue of the SalesPulse we examined the role of the empowered buyer and how the internet had enabled him or her to outwit the poor old sales person. We talked about how professional procurers were doing everything they can to commoditise your offerings. The two working together are contriving to make the seller’s life very difficult. But we ended by saying that sales people were empowered too and that is our topic this month.
So, what does this empowered seller look like?
Well just like buyers they have access to enormous amounts of data on their customers, their people, their competitors and markets. They can generate alerts when people change or are promoted, when press releases are issued and they can easily monitor quarterly, half yearly and annual business reports. They can connect with their customers’ people, post compelling comments and monitor when their customers read it. All in all the internet and social media gives them great insights. However this is not what empowers them, nor is it their managers that inspire them. These people are engaged not only with their own business but with their customers’ business as well. The empowered sales person is, indeed self motivated.
All this information and insights, together with their personal drive and acumen allows them to make unsolicited value propositions to their customer which short circuits the empowered buyer and his or her comrade in arms the procurement professional. They don’t wait for tenders or requests for quotations as they set the agenda by creating value for their customers. This value obviates pesky negotiations or time wasting tender preparation or beauty parades so loved by the professional buyer. As I said in the last issue of the SalesPulse they choose the battleground on which they want to fight, because they can win at the right price for both parties. Buyers cannot research a product or service that they don’t know about, or commoditise the empowered seller’s business knowledge, relationships and the value they bring to their customers’ business outcomes.
What other characteristics do these people have? They are low maintenance as far as management is concerned; they are avid learners. As a quote I stole from somewhere says, “The best earners are the best learners”. They are always available to help and develop their colleagues and they treat their sales quota or target, as a stepping stone to their personal goals.
There is a myth that managers motivate their people. The only person who can motivate me is me, and in your case it is you. What managers can do, is to create an environment where people can be motivated. A good way for sales managers to do this is to get their best people deeply involved with the business; trust them, ask them to help their colleagues and the the truly empowered sellers will. The biggest enabler in sales is success – success is contagious as is motivation.
The SalesPulse™ Insight
What do sports people and sales people have in common? A lot more than you would think. Our quote this month is as relevant to selling as it is to high performing athletes. In next month’s edition we will examine the similarities that sports people and sales people should share.