Are Selling Processes Becoming Obsolete?

Give me a break.  Another blogger is trying to convince you that your selling process is obsolete.  Well, yeah, the selling systems from 50 years ago, despite their continued uses, are obsolete, but not so for many of the selling systems in place today.  Geoffrey James, a freelance writer and author, but not a sales expert, has recently written about this subject and I strongly disagree with what he wrote.  In his most recent post, Is Your Sales Process Obsolete?, he makes some errant assumptions about the assumptions your salespeople are making.

While some of what he writes is true to an extent, it is not true about all products, services and companies.

While many products and services are simply being bought, not sold, there are still a great number of products and services that are and will continue to be sold.  These include complex products and services as well as high-priced products and services and customized products and services.

While it’s important to consider how the customer wishes to be sold, a salesperson can’t abandon a selling process while the customer/prospect uses one salesperson against the other to commoditize the offering.  The salesperson still requires a road map and my process, introduced in Baseline Selling, identifies points in time, as opposed to sequential steps.

If salespeople waited until prospects were ready, they would be in competitive situations always – “I know what I want, now I just have to decide who to buy from.”  While they may know what they want, without a salesperson to ask the right questions, they may not know what they need!

While some prospects will simply say “yes” at closing time, most won’t, even when they’re ready.  They need to be closed.  Effective salespeople help prospects make decisions to buy what they need.  Left to their own devices, prospects often fail to act at all.

While the economy won’t come to a standstill, if everyone in sales moved to the customer centric model, there would be an awful lot of expensive, complex, custom-built products and services that would be sitting on shelves, with salespeople no longer able to demonstrate their value.

© Copyright 2007 Objective Management Group, Inc.