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Business People Who Sell

by David Brock on March 11th, 2016

Our customers don’t need sales people calling on them.  They don’t need a person that can only focus on talking about their products and services–after all customers have the web to learn about products.

They don’t need someone that can engage in a scripted conversation, listening for key words, so they can set up a demo or pass them onto someone who will be talking about their products.

Our customers work in businesses.  Each business, each customer within those businesses face different challenges and have different opportunities.

Their focus is on doing their jobs, on achieving their goals, on being successful.

The language of business people is different than the language of too many sales people.

The language of business people is often about their function–it may be engineering and development, it may be manufacturing, customer service, sales/marketing, finance, operations, human resources, supply chain management, IT.

The words they use are not about products—other then theirs.  The things they talk about is what they are doing, what they need to do, the problems and challenges they face, the opportunities they are attacking, the competition they face.

They struggle with things like design cycle reduction, manufacturing improvement, cashflow/asset utilization, supply chain rationalization, talent acquisition, customer experience.  They know they must innovate, perhaps even disrupt.  They know they must serve their customers, they must compete.

They express goals in terms of their KPI’s, metrics.  They focus on the performance of their function, of their business.

Our customers are business people.

Our customers don’t need sales people calling on them.  They need business people who sell.  They need people who understand their business, who know what they are going through, who understand and can solve their problems.

They want people who understand the dynamics of the company and how it can grow and succeed.  They want people who understand the challenges they face and who speak their language.

They want people who can solve business problems.

Our customers don’t need sales people.  They need business people who sell.

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3 Comments
  1. Dave, this post really resonates with me. I suppose I am fortunate that I was taught to sell as a business to business peer and embraced it, focusing on relevant customer issues and goals (maybe because I despised the sleazy cheesy sales stereotype). I strongly believe it is the most effective approach, yet so many do the product pitch. Those same people also find it difficult to connect or relate at the C-level. The business peer approach makes it easier and more productive. Thanks for a great post.

  2. Dave, you know we are like minded on a lot of things. This really gets to the heart of the matter, that is, what buyers want.

    I’ll post later today my observations on the inaugural Value Selling & Realization Summit. One observation is that a best in class company talked about creating 4 value props per sales rep per year. While that may be best in class today, it highlights how much better we need to be. It shouldn’t be 4 per year, it should be great enablement for every sales call and a business aligned value proposition for every proposal.

    That math is simple. If you need to close 6 deals to make 150% of your number, you better have 12-15 opportunities to make great proposals. If you need 12-15 opportunities worthy of proposals, you better make 5x that many great sales calls.

    Our customers tolerate us, but the numbers are against us UNLESS we rise to the level you describe. That puts the numbers in our favor and gives us a seat at the buyer’s table where we really want to sit.

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