How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
What is a sales ‘thought leader’?
Guest articles > What is a sales ‘thought leader’?
by: Sharon Drew Morgen
Someone called recently to ask if I were a ‘sales thought leader’. I laughed. “It’s a trick question,” I replied.
The term ‘sales thought leader’ is an oxymoron. As the person who developed a sales-related model to facilitate the behind-the-scenes aspects of the buyer’s decision path that can’t be addressed by the sales model (Buying Facilitation®), I’ve sought partners to think outside the box with me. Before he died, David Sandler called to buy me out, saying he thought he’d gone outside the box but hadn’t realized how far ‘outside the box’ was until he read my then-latest book.
So, in my map of the world, there has been nothing new in the field of sales since the Serpent convinced Eve to eat the apple.
WHAT HAS CHANGED?
The internet has made it easier to find prospects. But the field continues to push solutions at the wrong time and ignores the real influencing capability that’s possible far earlier in the buying path. The same-old same-old focus prevails, even in the face of decades, if not centuries, of inadequate results, rendering the term ‘sales thought leader’ moot:
BUY-IN FIRST, SOLUTION LAST
Until buyers manage the behind-the-scenes change issues and get buy-in from everyone who touches the final solution, they cannot buy. Yet we continue to seek appointments merely to explain how great we are (and ‘understand need’…so we can explain how great we are), and disregard their start-to-finish decision path, merely perpetuating failure. And wasting valuable seller’s time.
Sales thought leaders would have a different set of beliefs, skills, and outcomes:
Currently sellers wait, and hope, for a sale to close, following prospects around for months and years without knowing which ones will close and going through hoops and time wastage to ‘close the sale’. Why? Because they sales doesn’t facilitate the private non-solution-related private decision issues along the decision path. So the only prospects who buy are those who show up having already achieved necessary buy in. And, unfortunately, the time it takes them to accomplish this is the length of the sales cycle.
But we can change this. A sales thought leader would have two sets of skills: one to manage change, and one to sell a solution. They would enter the conversation with: “How would you and your buying decision team know when it was time to add new banking services to the ones you’re using for those times your current bank couldn’t support you?” for example. And when the change management/buy in process is completed, their solution would fit in immediately (with no proposals or competition or objections) or not.
So I guess I’m a sales thought leader. But I sure wish there were others in the field to play with. Fighting the status quo has been a dark and lonely job for 25 years. Anyone want to join the leadership team with me?
Check out Sharon Drew Morgen's new book: Dirty Little Secrets: why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what you can do about it.
Or consider purchasing the bundle: Dirty Little Secrets plus my last book Buying Facilitation®: the new way to sell that influences and expands decisions. These books were written to be read together, as they offer the full complement of concepts to help you learn and understand Buying Facilitation® - the new skill set that gives you the ability to lead buyers through their buying decisions.
Contributor: Sharon Drew Morgen
Published here on: 25-May-14