The Death of a Salesman

When the late Arthur Miller wrote his Pulitzer prize winning play in 1949 entitled The Death of a Salesman, he could not have possibly known that 66 years later in 2015 the title would almost become reality! Reality, because salespeople in the traditional sense are no longer required!

Philip Peters explains: "Back in 1949 in Arthur’s day a ‘salesperson’ was a relationship builder, they would become his or her customers best friend, loyalty was everything, and for a customer to break that loyalty and buy elsewhere was seen as a personal affront – not as a reasonable ‘business decision’."

But then things moved on, in the 70s it was a domain of the ‘wide boy’ market trader type who was not at all interested in your ‘needs’ or in building a ‘relationship’ it was all about the ‘one-off’ sale, selling purely on emotion (negative emotion that is).

A classic example of that era was the door knocking double-glazing salesperson. They were kings of the ‘hard-sell’. They would literally sit with Mr and Mrs Jones in their homes until the early hours of the morning if necessary, until they ‘broke them’ down and they reluctantly signed on the bottom line.

The salesperson then leaving the home, with the signed ‘contract’ in their hands, howling at the moon and skipping merrily down the street, whilst poor Mr and Mrs Jones were left exhausted and emotionally drained, and not really quite sure what they had actually bought!

Fortunately, we moved on from that, and In the late 80s, selling became the realm of the ‘Consultative’ salesperson - the ‘needs matcher’, the 'professional', who would ask lots of ‘open-ended’ questions, to find a hook that would enable them to delve deeper and find the ‘PAIN’ of their buyer!

Once this had been established, it was then just a case of following the path of:  “so we have established the pain, what are the main problems or issues this pain causes you? And therefore, what are the further implications of those problems in terms of cost, time, production, etc?"

Once all that was in place, it was then simply a case of matching viable solutions to the needs, and ‘Bobs your Uncle’ job done!

The consultative approach is still used today, and still has a place, but in a very limited number of and type of customers!

Selling and influencing the buying process in large organisations in 2015 is no longer a case of ‘face-to-face’ meetings and having ‘in-depth’ discussions with the aim of finding ways in which both parties could mutually and profitably benefit each other.

Today’s modern buyers are literally trained to be ‘Forensic’ analysts of their businesses. Salespeople are no longer welcome, needed or in fact relevant. Buyers know exactly what the challenges are in their organisations; they have already worked out what is the required solution, researched possible suppliers, and decided who are the ‘best’ ones to fulfil that solution!

The price they want to pay has been benchmarked and the service levels expected will have been set, then and only then, will a salesperson be involved when their company receives a ‘request for tender’ through their door.

And of course if ‘you’ cannot do it somebody else undoubtedly will!

The only way sales people can bypass this ‘commodity’ buying process in 2015, is to become ‘Forensic’ themselves, forgetting initially about the products or services they offer, bypassing the buyers, and completely switching their attention to their clients customers i.e. their end-users needs.

Doing this, by identifying gaps that could enhance their client’s customers experience, or by finding ways of giving their clients a competitive edge, and all this before the ‘Forensic’ buyers have even noticed their business had a need.

The next crucial step is to weave around normal buying processes and go straight to MDs, FDs and other ‘positive’ change champions in that business.

As you can imagine this calls for a completely different type of salesperson profile - a ‘Forensic Sales Expert’©.

It may be the 'Death of a Salesman', but its the birth of a 'Forensic Sales Expert'

To find out how Leading National Training have developed a programme to source, profile, select and train a ‘Forensic Sales Expert’© please contact: Philip@leadingnationaltraining.co.uk | www.leadingnationaltraining.co.uk

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