A recent survey found that over 60% of buying decisions were made before any discussions took place with the supplier. It is safe therefore to assume that our buying behaviour has evolved. This is not a revolutionary statement. Why then, has our sales and marketing training failed to keep pace?
Consumers are being bombarded with up to 3,000 messages per day, the majority of this just advertising noise. Marketing therefore must start to play a starring role in funneling this noise into qualified and educated leads.
The way to cut through the noise and start to build preference is to provide insight. True insight is an idea that teaches the consumer and changes core beliefs and values. This becomes more difficult when you consider the necessary avoidance of free consultation.
An insight-based sales representative will teach the customer back into the start of the sales funnel by providing provactive insights into their understanding. Approaches are based on the understanding of solution from the customer. SEC have broken this down into three categories:
1. Underestimated problem: The customer has an understanding of the problem, and a notion of what the solution could be. To reframe customer thinking, the salesman will teach the customer the greater magnitude of the problem and therefore why to be appreciated differently.
2. Unrecognised driver: Customers are familiar with the problem, but have accepted it as a cost of doing business or a problem that they cannot resolve. As such, they have no solution, or are looking for one. The salesman teaches the customer that their problem is driven by an unrealised root cause that can be rectified by adapting a different approach.
3. Unanticipated problem: Customers are completely ill-informed about a potential issue that will have detrimental impact if not addressed. The salesman leads the customer to a different solution by teaching them about the problem, and therefore guiding to an alternative direction.
Reassuringly, providing a disruptive idea to the customer does not have to be exclusively technical. There are obvious benefits to detailed product knowlegde, however simple insights into reducing time spent on a product or service (to maximise time at home with family) is an insight that will appeal to many.
So Insight is in, and the new batsman looks in good shape for a strong innings. He's leaving the ball outside of off-stump and playing an intelligent game. A solid 'knock' most likely...