Forget Glengarry Glen Ross. Today’s salespeople would be wise to heed the new ABC’s of selling — Always Be Curating.
Fact: 24/7/365 access to information has radically changed the way customers and prospects identify vendors and purchase products. They can learn just about everything about you and your competitors online — content produced both by you and about you. But finding and analyzing the most relevant information isn’t always so easy.
As Daniel Pink so astutely points out in his book, To Sell Is Human, the information asymmetry salespeople used to leverage is gone or fading fast.
“When buyers can know more than sellers, sellers are no longer protectors and purveyors of information. They’re curators and clarifiers of it — helping to make sense of the blizzard of facts, data, and options.”
In today’s world of information parity and digital distraction, salespeople who win are the ones who add value to the sales process by helping their prospects filter out the noise and understand what they should focus on to do their job more effectively. You need to become the best curator of information to stay one step ahead of the competition. Here’s three pieces of advice to guide you down the path of curating your way to closing the deal.
1. Know which features to demo and which ones NOT to show.
Reality check: Showing your prospect EVERY feature “just in case” is like throwing spaghetti on a wall. It’s not enough to hope that something sticks. Play it smart and show only what’s relevant to the organization as well as the individual(s) you’re presenting to.
2. Find articles that your prospects will benefit from and send those along unsolicited – no ask attached.
Being a good curator of information means working smart and digging in deeper than your competition is willing to go in order to provide value. Do your homework and stay on top of your prospects’ business, their competition, and their industry.
- Check (and recheck) the company blog for relevant updates and news items.
- Set Google alerts to monitor media mentions of the company’s chief stakeholders, products, competitors, and related industry terms.
3. Make every interaction meaningful.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Don’t call or email if you don’t have anything new or valuable to say. Make sure that every interaction with a prospect is a meaningful one. That way, you in essence train your prospects to pay attention and to open and read emails that you send. Don’t encourage them to ignore or delete your messages because they are of inconsistent or no value to them.
In the end, it all boils down to empathy.
Success comes from putting yourself in your prospect’s shoes, going the extra mile, and helping them make sense of the information that’s relevant to their success. I recently saw this firsthand, when there was a deal in the pipeline that was stalled. The sales rep asked that I contact the VP/Decision Maker directly to see if I could help move the deal along. We spent sixty minutes on the phone together discussing best practices and go-to-market strategies relevant to his business. Not a single feature was mentioned and price wasn’t discussed. Guess what: The deal closed.