Million Dollar Bill tweeted me to share something someone said on television this morning. This person said, “You can’t sell to people. You can only be there when they want to buy.” He knew I would have a strong opinion about this bad idea.
Yes, in fact, you can sell to people. More still, if you are going to be relevant at all, you are going to sell to them before they decide to buy. In business-to-business sales, you actually help create the compelling case for change that starts the buying process.
Right now, people are still suffering from post traumatic recessionary stress disorder. They believe that we are still in a recession, even though this hasn’t been true for over 6 years. This, when the economy will come in around 19.2 trillion dollars, making it the largest economy in our Universe. Even though the economy continues to grow, and people have money, they are still afraid to spend money it.
If you want to be a trusted advisor, what sense does it make to allow your dream client to struggle and perhaps hurt themselves when you have the ability to help them do better? What sense does it make to know the right answer to their challenge, posses the ability to execute for and with them, and help move them forward if you have to sit on your hands and wait for your dream client to decide it’s time to buy.
In the old days of sales, you might have waited for your prospect to become dissatisfied enough to change. Now you create the compelling case for change. It used to be enough to lead with your product, but now you lead with your ideas, especially your strategic, future-oriented ideas.
I loved the 1980’s, but that was a lifetime ago, and sales was a very different game (even if many still play the game as it was 40 years ago). What served you then will hurt you now, and the idea that you should wait, that you aren’t supposed to create opportunities, is bad advice.