People tend to distrust Sales. According to Forrester, 59% of buyers prefer to do research online instead of interacting with a sales rep.
For well-meaning AEs whose primary goal is to always be closing sales, this can be beyond frustrating. It’s evident that buyers are hesitant to talk to us. They put off filling out that dreaded lead form. They wait to respond to our emails as long as possible, if at all. But why? Why do buyers treat salespeople like they have some apocalyptic disease?
“The 21st-century buyer is increasingly cynical – they know that you ultimately want to make a sale,” says Shelley Cernel in a recent post. “They also know more than ever before about your products and services, as well as your competition … [B]uyers prefer to do research online instead of interacting with a sales rep because the rep pushes a sales agenda rather than helps solve a problem.”
While you’re recovering from that kick in the teeth, you have to admit this if often true. Sales teams that get so focused on pitches and hitting quotas tend to forget that the world has changed. Distrust exists. We are to blame for that distrust. So we keep on pitching, push for closing sales, and buyers keep avoiding us for unbiased content and third-party advice.
This is not where salespeople want to be. But how can we get back in buyers’ good graces? How can we make people want to talk to us, even trust us? Cernel offers some important advice:
“To overcome prospect skepticism and forge that trusting relationship, reps need to build credibility through demonstrated value, transparency, and honesty … One of the fastest ways for sales reps to build trust is by focusing on helping their prospects rather than selling to them. Buyers look for vendors who comprehend their business and the challenges they face. Demonstrate an understanding of their pain points, offer insights about their industry, and disrupt any assumptions they have about your product/service.”
It seems too elementary. To continue closing sales, we needs to stop assuming that buyers want a pitch. Instead, we need to make the critical mind shift that consumers want their problems solved. The phrase ‘trusted advisor’ gets thrown around quite liberally these days, but that doesn’t make it any less powerful of a concept. We need to become the people who listen intensely to the buyers’ problems and then guide them to customer-crafted solutions that help the buyer.
If Sales wants buyers to start trusting them, Cernel suggests, Sales needs to make themselves useful.
To learn how Consensus helps sales teams better assess and respond to buying group needs, click on the orange “Watch Demo” button below.