New business development has changed tremendously over the last decade. Decision makers have more information at their disposal than ever before. It is no longer the job of the sales person to act as the main source of information.
More often than not, prospects will have done much of their research before engaging with a potential supplier. The responsibility to educate and aide evaluation, historically something the sales person would have covered, now tends to be shared with the prospect. Access to this information is also instantaneous. When salespeople are speaking with potential customers, websites, social media, blogs etc. allow prospects to carry out research at speed and in real time.
A good salesperson will still frame the benefits of their offer in relation to the potential buyers needs, suggesting solutions rather than rattling off a list of features and benefits. That said, the key skills required are less about a detailed understanding of your service/product and are now much more heavily weighted around a comprehensive understanding of your client’s business needs, the ability to quickly establish trust and to educate. It's still important to be eloquent and persuasive but the age of the silver-tongued salesman is well and truly over. Smart organisations are now recruiting business people that can sell.
"If people like you, they'll listen to you, but if they trust you, they'll do business with you" Zig Ziglar
In a series of papers we will be exploring the notion of trust and what it means from a sales perspective. What is trust? What are the stages of building trust in a business environment? How does one put this knowledge into practice?