It’s not quite as thought provoking as the proverbial question — “What came first, the chicken or the egg?”

But the question I pose in the headline does indeed have a lot of implications for those of us in sales.

There are many who believe the key is to make your offering so clear that the customer will want to buy.  There are just as many who say customers don’t buy anything until the salesperson makes the sales pitch.

My position is simple. It takes both.

The customer is not going to buy anything if they don’t know what it is they’re buying.  The salesperson’s job is to help the customer determine in their mind what it is they’re really looking for.

It comes down to helping the customer understand what their expected outcomes should be.  Many times the customer doesn’t really know they’re looking for.  They may think they know, but until a salesperson can help clarify what they want or need, they really may not understand accurately what that is.

If the customer buys anything before understanding what it is they’re looking for, then most likely they’re not making an intelligent decision.

The reason I’m even asking this question is because too many people, including salespeople, don’t understand the important role salespeople play.  The role of the salesperson is not to merely be the person who show the customer a product or service or answer questions the customer asks.

No, the role of the salesperson is to help the customer define clearly what they want or need, and then help them see options they never realized existed. This is true for both B2B and B2C, as well as for both physical products and intangible services.

Yes, customers can find just about anything they want to know about something by going to the internet, and that is really a good thing for the sales industry.

What this means is the role of the salesperson has had to move from merely being the distributor of information to now being the questioner of expectations.  This is a huge shift, but one that reinforces the importance as to why the question I asked in the headline both are relevant.

The salesperson must sell and the customer must buy.

Copyright 2012, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.





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