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Learning from the buyers seat

One of the best ways to learn about effective selling is to be in the buyer's seat. The good news is that we have this opportunity almost every day. Whether it is B-to-B or B-to-C, we know as buyers what we like and what we don’t like, what is effective and what is not effective.

One thing for sure is that while most of us like to buy, very few of us like being “sold to.” I believe this is why sales gets a bad wrap.

It is always so obvious to me when I walk into a store when the salespeople are on commission. It usually begins with an overly friendly greeting and a question like “Can I help you find anything special today?” And then I say my line “No thank you, just looking.” She then says something like “We have some great new X’s that just came in” (with the inflection of a question instead of a statement). To which I respond with my best body language “leave me alone”. If she fails to read my signal, I’m usually out of there in a matter of minutes.

Why is this so annoying? I think it is because she is invading my coveted buying experience. Her desire to help me is linked to her need for a commission, not to what might be important to me. She has not demonstrated that she has a desire to add value so, she has not yet earned the right to become a part of my buying experience.

With a different intention, another sales person may have said the exact same words, and I may have responded differently to her.

It is not dissimilar to the B to B world. We have recently been researching Search Engine Optimization experts to help us attract more people to our site. We have met with numerous firms. Some had the sincere and obvious intention to help us; others tried to “sell us”. The latter assumed they knew our needs and threw out some canned lines that warned me about selecting their competition. One even used the tactic “if we choose to work with you…” Pleeese!

It is in the buyer's seat that we truly experience the impact of effective and ineffective sales. These recent experiences highlighted for me the critical importance of being genuine and keeping the client’s interests front and center.

What have you learned from being in the buyer's seat?

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