Where do you turn when sales aren’t where they should be? Conventional wisdom tells us to hit the sales-training road in an attempt to utilize those time-proven selling techniques. Back to the basics – you know, those sales tools that have been used with great success for years and have stood the test of time. Not so quick. They’re often repackaged, but not much has really been altered during the past twenty years. But something has changed … your customer. Many of the selling tools and techniques we still use today were created back when all customers had the same motivations, values and perceptions. At that time, creating a set of universal selling concepts that would appeal to everyone was a pretty good idea. Ultimately, a “one size fits all” sales manual was utilized to teach and appeal to the majority of the prospects out there, namely Baby Boomers. The only problem now is that Baby Boomers have begun to retire, and the incoming Generation Y and Xers don’t dance to the same drummer as the generation before them. And the Millennials who follow the Gen Y & Xers are bringing even more diverse motivations, values and perceptions to the playing field. So why are we selling in the past? It’s almost like we are skating where the puck used to be, and then surprised when we get there only to find that the game has moved to another place. If the mission is to win the game of today, then you must use the tools that customers respond to NOW. “Selling in the NOW” means recognizing that if you want to make a sale to today’s buyers, you have to be aware of how and why they buy in today’s world.
Customers are definitely different from years ago. A lot of selling concepts fit for the people who made their jobs their priority. The company’s pain was their pain. Little else mattered. Years ago when a layoff took place, the company stock went down. It was a sign of trouble. In contrast, a layoff today signals lower costs and higher profits, resulting in stock prices being driven up. I’m not saying that customers aren’t loyal and devoted to their companies as much any more, however different priorities are now in the forefront of all prospective customers’ minds.
Here’s an example. You may have a product that relieves your prospect’s company pain and would solve a major problem. However, if your solution requires that the buyer stays after work two extra hours a day for three months, watch out. It might conflict with what he perceives as his gain, which is getting home for dinner each night.
Go ahead and uncover the pain. But you also have to find the gain or you won’t make the sale. Solving pain is a defense play. No one likes pain, but in today’s world, it’s no longer the only motivator to buy something. Gain is an offense play and a motivator that brings pleasure.
Think of it this way. You won’t find people scalping appointments at the dentist’s office, but you will find people eagerly paying many times over face value for tickets to a popular concert.
If the way you present your products benefit appeals to their pain, they might have a reason to buy. If it appeals to what’s important to them, their gain, that’s motivation to buy, and you will make that sale.
“Selling in the NOW” is recognizing different generational groups. Learning to understand, test, and then validate any perceptions prospects hold that will help you relate to them, uncover their “gain” and build trust – and ultimately assist them in buying.
Author: Rich Lucia
April 12, 2017