Buying behaviours changed. Buyers got more sophisticated and knowledgeable over time.
This had a massive impact on what added value Sales People can – and need to- bring to the table during the sales process. If you are selling more commoditised services we can clearly see the market moving toward productised service offerings with a self service purchase process mostly through e-commerce.
However, if you are selling ‘solutions’ that still rely on some bespoke scoping, Sales People will have to adapt to a more sophisticated Buyer Audience.
So what this change entails?
Once I read in an article, the best sales people are not those who can listen or persist (as previously thought) but those who can challenge their clients’ thinking…
…and how true is that!
…but how do you know if you got it what it takes to be a challenger?
PURELY based on my own experience…if you tick the boxes below… you probably are.
A natural born challenger…
- is extremely good at questioning.(and how do you know if you are good at questioning? the quality of your questions are reflected in the quality of the answers) Some people are really good at listening but a challenger is not only good at listening but extremely good at questioning. Which also implies, that a challenger never makes statements, as per point 1, he asks questions and leads the other person to draw his own conclusions.…and by doing so, a challenger rarely takes credit for it…as such, the ‘intervention’ seems fairly passive and seamless, occasionally manipulative.
- is a creative thinker. You can predict, analyse and put two and two together even if you do not have all the details in hand. In other words, challengers seem to be always one step ahead…
- is brave and enjoys – actually strives on – taking risks. Why, because if you challenge people, you can easily find yourself out of your comfort zone, having to take punts just to trigger reactions.
- is always very passionate. Only passionately caring about something/somebody can make you challenge somebody else’s thinking and behaviour. If not, you would not feel it was worth it (because it is a tough job)
- tends to be very lonely. People take their time before things dawn on them. And that can feel a looooong time to wait.
- and last but not least… a challenger always wants to be challenged. If you like challenging other people but not being challenged back…then you are just an arrogant b@s!@rd.