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Want to Sell More? Behave Like a Friend
Blog / For Sales Pros / Feb 16, 2018 / Posted by David Meerman Scott / 6363

Want to Sell More? Behave Like a Friend


In recent years, I’ve heard many variations on this theme: “I won’t tolerate this anymore! I’m fed up!” People simply don’t want to be sold to.

We’ve all had enough of unwanted phone calls, both at home and at work. We’re tired of slogging through unsolicited emails. We really wish we’d see the end of intrusive social media messages. It’s time that companies treated us with some respect.

Selling with an adversarial approach doesn’t work very well.

In my first sales job I was required to make cold calls, which was frankly brutal work. Very few people were aware of our firm, and my call was yet another of countless intrusions received by each of my prospects each and every day.

We all hated cold calling–an activity fondly referred to as “dialing for dollars.”

It was a necessary technique, though. In the years before the World Wide Web, there weren’t many other ways a potential client could learn about our company.

It’s an unfortunate truth that many companies still run this way–as if it were still 1986–investing massively on interrupting people.

It Is a New Sales World

Today, in a world in which buyers have the ability to do their own independent research, many customers are more educated than the salespeople they do business with. However, many companies and the salespeople they employ have not adjusted their strategy accordingly. They still approach the sales process as if they have the informational upper hand in the relationship.

Your salespeople should assume that they are the last place a buyer goes, not the first. They must assume that very little of their knowledge is proprietary. They need to facilitate the sale, not control the information. And the best way to do that is to treat potential customers the same way you would treat a friend.

There are many simple things you can do to facilitate a relationship. When you begin a conversation with a potential customer, why not follow them on Twitter or other social networks that they use? That’s what you would do if you met somebody at a party.

Sharing information works great, and it doesn’t have to be something that your organization created. We like it when a friend sends an interesting and valuable video, ebook, blog post, or infographic. So why not give the gift of information during the sales process too.

Here are some ideas to think about as you develop a friendly approach to selling:

  • People want authenticity, not spin.
  • People want participation, not propaganda.
  • Companies must drive people into the purchasing process with great content.
  • Blogs, online video, e-books, infographics, and the like let organizations communicate directly with buyers in a form they appreciate.
  • Social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn allow people all over the world to share content and connect with the companies they want to do business with.
  • The best organizations customize the buying experience for each customer.
  • The buyer is now in charge of the sales process, and wants to buy on his or her own personal timetable.
  • When a buyer is ready to engage, the company must respond with lightning speed.
  • Instead of causing one-way interruption, making sales is now about delivering content at the precise moment each buyer needs it.
  • Companies must treat people as individuals.
  • When buyers have valuable information at the click of a mouse, it is sellers who need to ask the right questions.

Yes, this is a large list. But it really comes down to ending the adversarial approach to selling. Let’s transform sales together.

This piece is based on an original article by David Meerman Scott.

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About Author

David Meerman Scott He’s a sales and marketing strategist who has spoken on all seven continents and in 40 countries to most respected firms, organizations and associations.David is author of ten books - three are international bestsellers – and is best known for “The New Rules of Marketing & PR”.

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