Your customers have experienced a fundamental shift in their responsibilities.
Decision makers for companies no longer expected to worry about today’s problems. They’re paid to anticipate and shape the future.
Have you recognized the shift? More importantly, have you adjusted your sales approach accordingly?
A recent survey
In a recent Huthwaite survey, managers were asked to list in order of importance the following four statements about the salespeople who call on them:
- The salesperson listens to my problems and then shows me which of their products and services can help.
- We spend a lot of time discussing their products, and I find some of the features and advantages they talk about interesting.
- They stop by regularly to make sure everything is going well and see if we would like to order anything new.
- They help me explore the depth and scope of issues I didn’t even know I had. I feel like I should be paying them for a consultation at the end of each sales call.
Information on the internet
Before the flood of information on the Internet, customers had to see salespeople to learn about products and services.
That’s no longer true. Customers are awash in useful information and can begin to solve business challenges with a few mouse clicks. This velocity of information has almost eliminated the product differences that customers once considered valuable and worth paying for.
The quality revolution
The velocity of information has sparked a quality revolution by ensuring that competitors get information just as fast as customers. A competitor can produce the “me too” version of a product or service without the market knowing which came first.
Twenty years ago, it took five years in the business-to-business world to introduce a product. It meant that the window of uniqueness and differentiation was long, while competitors took several years to introduce competing products.
Decision-makers are no longer focused on solving today’s problems. They concentrate on the future. They want to look over the horizon and identify opportunity and anticipate difficulties.
Companies who have an outdated focus on the present may be replaced by those who look ahead and prepare their customers for “what’s next.”