There's a major trend in sales today – and it's affecting your business, whether you know it or not. What worked in sales ten years ago will not work best in our current marketplace.
The most successful businesses today have changed how they sell. They understand that today’s customers have more information about their buying options than ever before. Consequently, they engage with the customer in a whole new way.
Every leader should consider this sales trend, and make corresponding changes to how their company courts, closes and serves their customers.
Say goodbye to the car salesman
Not long ago, I noticed an article about changes in how cars are sold. I pulled a few quotes from the article because it highlights what I’m talking about.
Christina Rodgers with the Wall Street Journal states,
“Customers are simply different today. They’ve scoured the Web for up-to-date price information and have probably made a decision even before showing up on a dealer’s lot. The salesman doesn’t have as much to do.”
Think about your own car-buying history. Most of us remember an experience at a car dealership that involved pushy salespeople, hidden fees and misleading invoices.
Now, when shopping for a car, we tap the internet and learn about different makes, models and trim lines. We can discover the dealer’s true cost, any purchase incentives and what other people paid for the same vehicle. We can even find and interact with people who have purchased the exact model that we’re contemplating.
The new face of auto sales
Consider Mia Morris, a Product Specialist at Nissan of Manhattan. Instead of the hard sell, she says her job is more tutorial.
“Everything is visible. It is transparent for the customers. It is more like trying to help them find the right car and make a smart choice.”
The way we purchase cars has indeed changed. Alison Spitzer, vice president of the Spitzer Auto Group in Elyria, Ohio said,
“The whole process of buying a car has been flipped flop from what it used to be. Today, customers find the car first, then the dealership.”
How does this apply to my business?
Ok, you might be thinking, “I get it. The power of the internet has enabled today’s customers to know more than ever before. So what?”
Well, an informed customer presents different challenges and opportunities than one that is less knowledgeable. Any time the profile of our customer changes significantly, it means we’ll need to change our sales process in response.
Our sales strategy today needs to change because our customers have changed. Yesterday's consumers could be told and sold. Today's clients expect a sales professional to guide and facilitate the final steps in the purchase cycle.
This trend is much larger than the car industry, and I’m confident that there is an application for your business. A proactive response will position you to best serve your customer and lead your business to the next level.
How has your sales process changed to serve your better-informed customers?