“Make your product easier to buy than your competition, or you will find your customers buying from them, not you.” - Mark Cuban
Every business owner and salesperson in the world needs to recognize the demand for max transparency has changed the game, forever. And quite honestly, there’s no looking back.
Your customers don’t have time to talk to you, don’t want to talk to you, and don’t need to talk to you.
Information isn’t the problem anymore. We live in the information age. Information has always been limited by your desire to learn. Now, it’s accessible to anyone, when they want it and how they want it. Information has been democratized, and options are limitless for today’s consumer, making transparency required.
The role of selling in the 21st century has been completely flipped on its head. Cold calling isn’t respected by your customers anymore, it’s an annoyance. Emailing is basically a shot in the dark. Sure, we can optimize a bit with headline tips and tricks to get more opens, replies, blah, blah, blah. And, while I’m being frank, social media “stalking” just feels icky. Your customers perceive it that way to. It’s time to accept this fact. Consumers have the upper hand.
As Bob Dylan sings:
Your old road is rapidly agin'
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.
Let’s look at a basic example:
I’m in the market for a new car. Do I actually go to the dealership to learn about cars?
Nope. All I need is an hour, a cup of coffee, and a computer. Now, I’m the new expert.
The NEW problem is going to the dealership. Odd, but true. Do you like that part?
I don’t. It means I have to waste a Saturday afternoon haggling on price.
But, even this is changing. Tesla doesn’t have dealerships—they have showrooms. Tesla knows this new era is upon us.
We’ve seen retail plummet over the last decade. Borders? Gone. Circuit City? Gone. Blockbuster? Gone. Radioshack? Gone. Sears, Kodak, Motorola, and Toys R’ Us? All fractions of what they once were. They were providing poor solutions.
Each one is gradually losing market share to Amazon, Netflix, Apple, and Google. These “smart” companies know they can’t sell products or services. They know in this new era, selling is essentially useless. At least selling as we once knew it. They know only one thing matters.
You must give the customer what they’re actually searching for, rather than what you think they need. Create solutions customers are already begging for. Solutions they feel foolish saying no to.
Maybe you’re saying, “Doug, that’s all well and good, but what in the world does that have to do with me? I’m a salesperson.” Or perhaps, “Business-to-consumer is irrelevant to me. I sell in business-to-business environment.” Or my favorite, “I sell the complex sale, my company needs me.”
I urge you to look deeper. The information age has not only commoditized your skills but your products and services as well. And, potentially your future. If you’re asking the wrong questions, even your right answers will be useless.
Great solutions are not isolated to your products or services. Yes, even inside an organization with sub-par products, disjointed support teams, and crappy management. You can still create solutions your customers actually want.
Great solutions address real problems. They provide loads of intangible value. They reduce social, emotional, and financial risk for the customer. They’re overwhelming easy to understand, use, and implement. And, they’re the only thing worth providing.
They acquire more customers. They retain more customers. They tell better stories.
And, if that isn’t enough, your customers are demanding them!
It doesn’t matter whether you own a business, manage a book of business, or sell for a business. At the crux of this new era lies an incredibly important question you should always be asking yourself...
Have I created a solution that my customer actually wants?
Your job, career, or business depends on it.