The buyer is doing massive research. Massive? No. Some surface level research? Yes. First, I ask you to reflect on your last nine or ten sales calls and see if there is anything that should cause you to believe that your prospective client is spending their time researching you or your industry. Second, do you think that someone who buys what you sell can match your experience and the collective experience of the company you represent? Does their single purchase provide them with the same insight as your company’s experience serving 2,700 clients? Poppycock!
The buyer’s journey. Online and B2C? Yes. In B2B sales? No. Instead, journeys. How is it possible to believe that the 6 or 8 or 14 people involved in a buying process are all completely aligned in where they are in a process they are mostly altogether unaware of? Hogwash! The skill salespeople need is one that allows them to control the process and build consensus (but I am starting to see this coming apart at the seams, as some leaders have decided they want what they want).
Buyers have all the power and you need to be subservient. Nonsense! There is a particular variety of LinkedIn commentators that preys on the fear of some people with titles that would indicate they are in sales. This species of “expert” believes that value creation is content marketing alone and that no salesperson should dare interrupt their prospect with a phone call—even a phone call that might help them generate higher revenue, lower their costs, or help them achieve their strategic outcomes. When you read that you are powerless, knowing that you are taking on the disempowered belief of a person doesn’t believe they are capable of Level 4.
Buyers are frustrated with salespeople and their high-pressure tactics. Blarney! The worst they can be accused of is irrelevance. You know what people do when they don’t like how a salesperson behaves? They stop having meetings with them and buy from someone else. You likely can’t name five salespeople who know how to use high-pressure tactics and a hard sell to close deals? Those tactics haven’t served salespeople for decades. There are, however, salespeople who put people in comas with their company slide deck.
The new salesperson is digital. Drivel! Salesperson? No. Almost everyone on Earth? Yes. Digital is not the answer to poor sales results. It can’t be, because digital is not the key to value creation. Some believe attention is all that is necessary as if salespeople should be Kardashians or some other variety of attention-seeking non-value creators.
The phone is dead. Twaddle! Is there anything more ubiquitous than the phone?
Every salesperson needs to be a natural-born content creator. Phooey! First, some companies are too regulated. Second, many companies would prefer to have some control over their messaging (and rightfully so). Some salespeople, believe it or not, don’t want to create content, least of all cute little GIFs and memes. Some don’t like writing, and some aren’t good at it. Many hate video and can’t imagine using those platforms. The content between their ears is what is necessary for producing results, and the content they need can come from sources outside of the salesperson.
These ideas have lost their luster, and it is now time to move on.
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