Our leadership will often say, “You need to change your knothole!” In other words, you need to change your perspective or how you look at things. When you look through a knothole you only see a very limited portion of what’s on the other side of that fence.
Today’s buyer has moved down the fence to a different knothole. Sales – especially solutions-based sales or complex selling – is no longer about selling the buyer a really cool widget to solve the identified problem at hand. We all know the term “ZMOT” (Zero Moment of Truth); search the term and you’ll find a wealth of information. Most, if not all, of us have even participated in ZMOT. We are all doing research (and tons of it) before we even consider buying anything. The buying (and therefore selling) process has changed.
Below are some pointers to keep in mind when approaching your next sales opportunity.
- There is no Mapquest for the customer journey – although it is important to have the framework and a starting point to engage, support and create value for a customer, rarely is the journey a precise, linear map.
- The sales process is messy – be there to guide and coach your buyer. Help your buyer become successful by helping them avoid mistakes and stopping them from going in the wrong direction.
- Keep up with the trends in the industry – your buyer may think his problem is one thing (looking through one knothole) but you have seen the bigger picture and can provide more forward-thinking solutions that go beyond the problem today. Identify that unrecognized need of the buyer. Think transformatively.
- Don’t be afraid of the Questioner – seek out the ones who put up the challenge. No questions don’t mean acceptance or buy-in, it can signal boredom, non-engagement or that the buyer wasn’t seriously looking to buy.
Today, selling is about quality interactions between people and the exchange of value – it’s less about whether a buyer likes you and more about what value you can provide. It is about change – not change for change’s sake but a compelling need for change. What can you do to transform the buyer’s business? Don’t just change your knothole – come out from behind the fence and take it all in!