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August 29, 2023

Salespeople Welcome!

Disclaimer: This article is going to rub some people the wrong way! And that’s OK… it’s a perspective more people should think about and consider. So here goes…

I’ve read some articles recently saying that 70+ percent of B2B buyers would prefer a salesperson-less buying experience. Why is that? What are you afraid of?

Are you afraid that “somebody might sell you something?” C’mon… what part of “no thanks” don’t you understand? If you’re not interested in what a salesperson is selling… or if it’s not a good fit… or if the timing just isn’t right, say “No, thank you” and move on. Works 100% of the time! And the salespeople you say that to will appreciate you not ‘ghosting’ them and stringing them along.

Are you afraid of being subjected to a bad salesperson? OK… I get that one! I’ve written about bad salespeople for years. Our industry is full of salespeople who are ill-prepared or poorly trained or pushy or simply bad at what they do. And that often comes from leadership at their company that has no clue how to recruit, train, manage, compensate, coach, or lead the sales function.

But I want to take the opposite position. I submit you need to embrace salespeople… to welcome them into your search for new solutions. Hear me out…

  • Where do the vast majority of innovative, leading-edge solutions, methodologies and technologies come from? Vendors, of course. And how else will you learn about all of these new things unless you engage with salespeople? Sure, you can read about what’s new on the vendor website… but to really understand it, to dig deeper than what’s on a webpage, to see if it’s a fit (or not) for your business, you need to talk to a salesperson. They’re the experts.
  • Good salespeople are free consultants. All salespeople – even those selling commodity products – want to build a long-term relationship with you. So, the smart ones are in it for the long-haul… and will be patient – serving as a resource (a.k.a. consultant) on all kinds of topics – until the time is right for them to become your supplier. And then, even more so afterward.
  • Salespeople are an industry resource. Who is more connected in our industry than salespeople (other than a few crazed LinkedIn users)? No one! Why? Because it’s their job to be connected… and, over time, to leverage those relationships to meet potential new clients. Top-performing salespeople seemingly know everybody. So, why not take advantage of that? Need an introduction to an industry influencer? Your favorite salesperson can likely help. Need your recent LinkedIn post to be seen by more people? Let your favorite salesperson share it with his or her network. Looking to fill a job vacancy at your firm? Let your favorite salesperson put out some feelers for you.

Bottom Line

The fact is, good salespeople can be critically important to your business… not just because of what they sell, but in all the other ways they can help you, too. And it’s easy to make it happen… just say “yes” to that first request for a short, introductory meeting. If it goes badly, you’re only out 15 minutes. But if it goes well, now, you’ve got a resource – someone who cannot only deliver new solutions to your firm, but who will benefit you in many other ways.

So, hang out that sign… ‘Salespeople Welcome!’

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