Sales Training Tip #391: Stop Using the “Yellow Pages” Approach to Sell

Are you just giving your customers information?!  This is the dreaded “yellow pages” approach to selling.

You’re better than that. Start giving your customer solutions rather than just information.

Recently I was sitting in a meeting listening to salespeople discuss all of the information they routinely share with their customers.  As they’re going through their long list, I was struck by both how basic the information was and how everything they felt they needed to share was already on the web.

I’m smart enough to know just because something is on the web does not mean your customer has read it.  But they could if they wanted to, and that’s my point.  If all we’re doing is giving our customers information they can find elsewhere, then we’re no better than the Yellow Pages.  Remember the Yellow Pages?  They used to be relevant and an important part of our life. Now they’re obsolete because we can access the information much faster and more effectively through the web.

The point I’m making is our customers already have access to information. Our job in sales is to bring to our customers solutions, and that means going way beyond just sharing information.

We must help them understand things they didn’t think possible and to see outcomes they had not considered.  We do that by dialoguing with our customers, engaging with them, and allowing them to share their concerns with us.  When we do this, we ensure our value as a salesperson.  If, on the other hand, all we want to do is bring our customers information, then our worth will become dated and we’ll fade away like the Yellow Pages.

Challenge yourself to bring your customers questions and ideas that will get them thinking. Use the information you have not to start a conversation but to stimulate a discussion that leads to new opportunities.   There isn’t much of a demand for the Yellow Pages anymore!

Copyright 2011, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

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