The goal of a salesperson is to complete a transaction. The goal of a trusted advisor is to create a loyal customer relationship based on credibility, trust and respect. In reality both of these individuals is a salesperson but they approach the buying and selling process in remarkably different ways.
Dan Pink, in his book, “To Sell is Human,” contends that everyone is in sales whether we have the title or not. He repackages it as “the art of moving people.” Everyone practices this art from salespeople to consultants and teachers.
The old formula of sales no longer works. Those who remember sales from years ago remember ABC which means Always Be Closing. This tactic no longer works in today’s information rich environment. In the past, using gimmicks to close was successful because the seller had more information than the buyer which gave the seller the upper hand. Today we buy things from the Internet. In fact, anything a buyer wants to know is on the Internet. The buyer can also easily obtain information on the seller.
In today’s environment we need to understand that we are all in sales so far as we are all influencing people in one way or another. The value of our advice is what matters now. For example, home buyers can educate themselves on neighborhoods, schools, homes, asking prices, and anything else. Today’s smart realtor knows that by being a curator of this information she can create value for her clients. People can do the same Internet research when they buy a car and a smart salesperson will help the customer analyze it. Therefore, when the realtor, the car salesperson, or the business consultant uses the shared information, they can place themselves in the position of assistant buyer and of trusted advisor to the customer’s interests.
Since knowledge is readily available to buyer the seller should acknowledge that fact and spend the necessary time to develop a relationship between the different information and the customer’s needs.
We need to carefully listen to understand our customers’ needs and desires. Today, there are still many salespeople who will rush through this phase to go for the close. Researchers have found that the more successful salespeople are those who can uncover problems rather than providing solutions. Uncovering needs, problems and issues will take time and careful listening. When we continue to peel back the onion, we gain a greater understanding of the root cause. Uncovering the real issues will position us to provide the solution.
The ultimate source of our credibility will be our ability to deliver, to solve problems, to take on the hassles that the customer would rather not think about nor bother with. Following this path will set us on course to exceed our customer’s expectations. And that helps to develop the relationship of trusted advisor.
Do what it takes to become a trusted advisor. Trusted advisors earn more money, they receive many more referrals and repeat business, and they establish a long-term relationship with their customers.
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