When Steve Jobs came out with the iPhone, did you think you needed it?  I sure didn’t. Be honest with yourself – did you think you needed a camera, a music player, a computer, and a phone all in the same device?  No, probably not. All of us – the masses – didn’t know or believe it, but Steve job did and that’s why he was selling it.  (I write more about Steve Jobs, the rollout of the iPhone, and the lessons we learn from it in my new book, A Mind For Sales.)  

Think about that for a moment. What can you learn from it?  Steve Jobs lead us, his customers. If he were merely a follower, he would have just designed an awesome flip-phone. But that’s not who Steve Jobs was. He never followed anyone; he lead. Now apply this to the context of what and why you’re selling – are you leading your customers or are you following them? Are you the one bringing them ideas before they see the idea, or are you reacting to their current needs?

In sales, there’s no room for salespeople who merely want to follow the customer.  News flash! Customers don’t need salespeople who follow, for one simple reason: if all you do is follow their lead, what value are you bringing them? ZERO!  You are nothing more than an order taker and frankly, the internet does a pretty good job of taking orders without human involvement. 

Your role is not to take orders dealing with the basics; your job is to help move your customers forward. It’s your job to bring ideas to your customers that they didn’t know they needed. We have to be no different than Steve Jobs – willing to step out and be confident and bold in our customer conversations. There is no room in sales for a salesperson who does not see themselves in this light.  

The order taking salesperson is dead. That was the old account manager position. Trust me, I was in that role many years ago. Today, that job does not exist, the company does but the position doesn’t. Think about that for a moment.  How does your customer see you and how do you see your customer?  If what you are providing to your customer is the same as what they can find on the internet, you’re in trouble.  You must be your customer’s R&D department (Research and Development).  It’s your job to bring them new ideas. How do you do that? Ask questions and build their confidence in you, helping the customer know that they can trust you. 

Let’s go back to Steve Jobs… when he came out with the iPhone, do you think it would have been successful if he had not already built a level of trust with his customers?  Clearly not. The adoption rate would have been much slower, but because people trusted Steve and the Apple product, they accepted the iPhone. The level of ideas you bring to your customer are directly correlated with the level of trust the customer has in you.  This shouldn’t shock you! It’s no different than when you buy something online or in a store.  The greater the level of trust, the more you’re willing to spend and the faster you’re willing to make the purchase.

Sales is not about order-taking; that is customer service. Following the customer is a task you leave to your customer service department.  You’re in sales and that is about delivering your customer incremental opportunities. You do this by becoming the expert in the industry, by being the one people turn to for information.  No, you don’t become this person overnight, but you can become that person if you’re willing to put in the time to make it happen.   

Once again, we turn back to lessons from Steve Jobs – in a moment’s notice, did he become the bonafide guru of smart phones?  No, he put in hours of work to master his knowledge and working his craft.  His artful craft was taking the customer to the next level.  This is the same craft you need to master.  It’s your job to take your customers to the next level. This begins with you being willing to push the envelope of what you know and being bold in sharing it. Everything culminates in you developing a high level of trust with your customers that allows them to join you on the journey to the next level.  Yes, you are your customer’s research and development department. 

This is just one of the ideas I talk about in my new book, A Mind For Sales.  I strongly recommend you buy it! The book is filled with strategies and examples from a cross-section of companies and salespeople.  You’ll read stories of success and yes, stories of failure but they’re there for you to learn and grow from.

Jump over to a special page I created for you: www.thesaleshunter.com/amindforsales.

Copyright 2020, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter” Sales Motivation Blog.  Mark Hunter is the author of High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Result

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