Here are five lies about sales and selling you don’t want to be fooled by:
1. Solutions selling is dead. Pure, unadulterated bull. Has selling changed? Absolutely. Has buying changed? Perhaps—but not as much as you think. The idea behind solutions selling is that you collaborate with your client to understand his business needs and develop consensus around a solution that moves his business forward. It’s a process that starts at target and ends at close, covering all stages in between. The process is mostly good fundamentals. And it’s anything but dead.
2. Pain is dead. People buy when they are dissatisfied. If they don’t know they’re dissatisfied and you motivate them to change, you aren’t helping them achieve satisfaction. Selling is helping to move clients to a better place. Better than what? Better than where they are now. If you help your clients capitalize on an opportunity they didn’t know existed, you can ease their “pain” before they’ve even felt it. Try to be compelling without inducing pain.
3. Relationship selling is dead. This lie should come with its own hazard suit — you don’t want to get any on you! Anyone who has successfully sold anything knows that their success has been built on relationships, those inside their company and out. Imagine you have two sales opportunities: In the first, you have developed relationships with stakeholders, you have the access you need and you have a deep understanding of your prospect’s needs. In the second, you are unknown, you have no real access and your prospect doesn’t know if you understand her needs. Which deal are you going to win?
4. Cold calling is dead. This is a special kind of lie. It belongs to those trying to sell books, programs or packages that promise they’ll never again have to uncomfortably ask for business. Their target market consists of those susceptible to believing social media and inbound marketing alone are enough. Should your playbook include more than just cold calling? Absolutely. But you still need to pick up that phone.
5. Buyers have a process. No they don’t. Certainly they go through the stages of buying (dissatisfaction, recognition of needs, exploring options, avoiding risk). But they don’t have a formal “process.” If they do, then it will most often lead to a no decision.
Selling is hard enough when your eyes are wide open. Don’t make it harder by buying into these falsehoods.
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S. Anthony Iannarino is the managing director of B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, a boutique sales coaching and consulting company, and an adjunct faculty member at Capital University’s School of Management and Leadership. For more information, go http://thesalesblog.com/s-anthony-iannarino/