Things don’t go well for some salespeople. Simply put, they say they want to sell, but their numbers tell a different story. What’s missing? What needs to change?
The answer may rest in how they view their job. We can call it task tunnel vision. It’s common throughout business organizations, including sales, and here’s how to spot it: “That’s not what I’m hired to do. I want to sell. Just leave me alone and let someone else do all that other stuff.”
(Related: How to Avoid Becoming Obsolete on the Job)
Whether salespeople recognize it or not, they are like many others who are self-defining when it comes to their job. They erect an impenetrable mental wall that stops them from venturing outside their self-imposed prison. All they want to do is make sales. Ironically, their mindset has the opposite effect; they fail to get the order.
The way to break free from task tunnel vision is to focus on what customers look for in a salesperson:
1. Customers expect a salesperson to be their advocate
The role of the salesperson is more necessary today than ever. It’s a fact. With everyone having incredibly instant access to information, it may seem counter-intuitive to suggest that salespeople are needed more than ever—except that it isn’t!
There is nothing worse than making a purchase only to discover that it’s not what we wanted, even though the promise of the Internet is to make us better informed so consumers won’t make buying mistakes. The sheer volume of returns from online purchases alone, puts that idea to rest.
Confusion and doubt make the salesperson’s role is more critical than ever. With the complexity and plethora of today’s products and services, what customers need (and deserve) are advocates, those whose job it is to help them sort things out so they can make decisions that are in their best interest.
This isn’t to suggest that salespeople pretend they’re “consultants.” That’s not only fakery, it’s also what makes customers suspicious of salespeople and gives them a bad name.
Some may think that the role of customer advocate is too much to ask of those who sell—and it may be for some salespeople. It isn’t, however, for those who believe trust is the basis for earning the order. It’s an opportunity to be more than a huckster, a true professional.
2. Customers expect answers to their questions
Whatever else the Internet may have done, it’s made us more inquisitive. As one marketing director said, “People are always searching for answers. And whoever provides the best answers to the most questions at the end of the day will be the winner.”