Sales Transformation. What is that exactly?

Back in the day, it used to be that Buyers contacted Sellers when they became interested in addressing a need, as Sellers were an obvious source of information on what to do about that. Often of course, Sellers got to Buyers before they knew they had a need and helped them discover it. That still happens today of course.

N
ow having identified the Buyer’s needs the Sellers role, in simple terms, was to persuade Buyers to buy their products and services to address them.  They promoted features and benefits and sought to overcome objections that Buyers raised. Essentially it was a case of, ‘look I’ve got what you need, I just need for you to realize that’. OK, so that’s a rough cut, but you get the picture.

That all changed at the turn of the century. The INTERNET happened and that’s totally transformed buyer habits. They no longer need Sellers to inform them. They have unlimited access to information, all from the comfort of their offices and homes and in their own time. They don’t have to visit vendors or have Sellers come to them, not until they actually want to see and touch a product. They just don’t need Sellers like they used to.

Next came commoditization of products and services which is eliminating the differentiation Sellers so relied upon. Those features and benefits aren’t so exclusive or unique now. Buyers have abundant choice of products and of suppliers. If a Seller has a unique offering, chances are someone else will copy it and have it available within weeks or months. And again, thanks to the Internet they’re easy to find. Buyers don’t need Sellers. Google is their friend.

Finally, as the differences between products diminish, so does the difference between vendors and by extension Sellers. They’re all selling solutions, promoting their value propositions, adding value etc. They essentially sound the same; just the name of the products is different!  So Sellers become commoditized too.

For example, if you’re a Seller, how different do you really believe you appear to a Buyer, compared with other Sellers? From their POV, how does their experience of you differ from the experience of anyone else? Be honest now.

So it’s a triple whammy for traditional selling. The power has shifted totally from Sellers to Buyers and most Sellers haven’t caught up with that. Well, I guess they have, it’s just that they haven’t adapted to what that means. They’re still pitching and promoting products. Buyers don’t want that. They’re not listening. That’s the problem!

And the solution? Well, Sellers need to be worth spending time with. That means not talking about themselves, their products and services, but taking the trouble to understand what Buyers value and then becoming the source of that value.

That is Sales Transformation. Essentially a shift in selling practice from a product focus to a customer focus. Now, that’s not a tweak around the edges. It is literally a 180-degree shift from what traditional selling has been. It means leaving the traditional scripts i.e our product pitches, value propositions etc., behind and allowing Buyers to write the script. Why? Because only they know what is of value to them.

Bottom line, sales practices have had to adapt to this new reality. And that’s the subject of further articles. 

Key Points

  • In the last 20 years the power has shifted from Vendors to Buyers.
  • Google has replaced Sellers as the Buyers principal source of information.
  • Commoditization means Buyers have abundant choice.
  • You are your sustainable difference!

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