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Conventional Sales People are Unconsciously Incompetent

Conventional sales people are so identified with incessant selling and compulsive information proliferation, and they are not even aware of how most of it is pointless, repetitive and superficial. These type of sellers are in a rut and in a constant state of being unconsciously incompetent. The information selling gene has taken full possession of them. Selling without awareness is their undoing.

Information selling is typified by scarcity thinking that compels sales people to take the lead, seize the day and take immediate control. Imagine how customers must feel being the recipient of this strategy. It totally demonstrates to customers that you do not trust them. Once they gain control, too often mainstream sellers are trigger-happy to quickly solve symptoms (not problems), without even a passing consideration for true causes. I call this mess, selling without probable cause.

Outbidding one another on product attributes is the cornerstone of information selling. The utopian dream of information selling is feature and benefit selling. However, one's features and benefits are a fiction created by the marketing department that has limited practicality in the information economy. Features and benefits should be used primarily as a point of discussion to bring up problems, not as an end in itself.

Conventional sales people ardently conform to the feature and benefit police. No one wants to be accused of not trying hard enough. This is the information seller's prison. Since features and benefits are encoded in sales people's DNA, it is very hard to silence and restrain them because of the love of style, fluff, spin and a lot of self-dramatization. Feature and benefit selling is the sacred cow in the sales profession. Too bad, because it is a very sad sacred cow.

Orthodox sales people sell as if they have a unique monopoly on their prized features and benefits. However, study after study shows that these self-righteous sellers in fact do not have a corner on the market for their unique attributes, at least when it comes to perceptions of their customers. Reality check: You are unique just like everyone else, you are all selling like everyone else the exact same differences. One needs to recognize, that ones's offering is only as good or unique as the customer's other alternatives and options.

Feature and benefit selling fails because sales people do not realize that everything is a matter of personal taste, personal perception and personal criteria. Conventional sellers rarely take the time to find these things out. What really matters, is how unique and different the customer's problems are. Remember, no one really cares about you, your company and your superior solution. Only your mother cares about you!

Customers are overwhelmed with fluff in their lives; social media, Twitter, Internet, cell phones and texting, etc. The last thing they need is a sales person who does not bring substance to the table. They do not need new friends (Facebook provides that), and they do not need information that they can easily get from Google or your website. They do not need retreaded information. When all is said and done, what your customer is really buying and taking delivery of is not your physical product, they are receiving a "mental concept" and an intangible to alleviate a business problem. Customers do not buy drills, they buy holes. The problem is too many sales people are selling drills. They are selling the exact opposite of what customers are buying in so many cases.

Sales people need to be a product surrogate. They need to replace rich content with rich context. Let your product speak for itself and you provide the context and perspective. That is what customers need the most, assuming they trust you and value your insight. Sales people need to exercise information restraint until customers have had ample time to share their story; goals, risks, liabilities, problems, challenges, priorities and initiatives.

The Holy Grail of selling has always been bountiful, rich content, and its critical delivery mechanism of enthusiasm and excitement. The Internet has neutralized this traditional strategy. Today, rampant information inflation is causing a lot of lost deals and opportunities for information sellers. Information deflation should now be the norm for sales people.

Richard Farrell is President of Tangent Knowledge Systems, a national sales development and training firm based in Chicago. He is the author of the upcoming book Selling has Nothing to do with Selling. He trains and speaks around the world and has authored many articles on his unique non-selling sales posture.

Phone: 773-404-7915
EMail: rfarrell@tangentknowledge.com
Web: http://www.tangentknowledge.com