A classic example from Economics and Finance 101 has driven sales rep behavior for years. And more recently, it’s brought about the advent of inbound selling.
The so-called “Lemons Problem” described how clever salespeople could sell dud cars (lemons) to uninformed customers at a premium, and the customer wouldn’t know until it was too late. However, this problem has become a thing of the past. What changed? Enter the internet age, all but erasing the problem from memory. Customers can now hop on their phones, compare prices on the TrueCar app, and get a detailed Carfax incident report almost instantly.
The bottom line: the old way of selling is outdated and unsustainable. By solving issues for buyers like the Lemons Problem, the internet ended up creating a crisis of identity for sellers. What is their role in a world with an increasingly touchless sales process? Well, if reps want to hit their quotas (and keep their jobs), they’ll need to start helping the customer.
Just as inbound marketing turned the marketing process into a helpful, human, and educational experience, so too will inbound selling for the sales process. Like inbound marketing, the future of sales will be about adapting the sales process to match the way modern customers shop and buy. Here are a few practices to keep in mind:
- Help first, sell second. Give customers insightful, unbiased advice, and make sure the traditional product plug doesn’t muddy the waters. Why’s that? Inbound selling helps the customer first. Through honest advice, sales reps help the customer make the most informed decision and gain the most important thing a buyer can offer. No, not their money -- their trust.
- Make it worth their while. A buyer’s time is a precious thing. Make the most of your conversations by checking out what they’re already reading, via blogs and social media, so you build credibility and make any chance to talk time well spent. Remember to tailor every point of communication to the buyer’s context -- or risk a swift bout of disengagement.
- Don’t lose touch. Even after the sale is complete, remain in contact. Whether it’s to earn future referrals or to learn how to improve the sales process going forward, sales reps who keep in touch with buyers will see their relationships continue to pay off time and time again.
So how do we make inbound selling an institution? It all starts with identifying the biggest challenges reps today are facing so we can adapt our solutions to fit the modern seller. That’s why HubSpot teamed up with the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals to create this easy and ultimately informative survey.
Which brings me to you. Take five minutes and fill out the form. You’ll stave off some future pain points, and when the time comes to turn lemons into lemonade, you’ll be whipping yourself up a fresh Tom Collins.