Rewind 20 to 30 years and the perception of what it meant to be in sales was one that wasn’t overly looked too kindly upon. A typical picture springs to mind of a male in a pinstripe suit, tacky gold watch, a matching gold tooth to match for good measure and a pushy attitude that won’t quit until their victim ‘gives in’ and hands over their hard-earned money. 

Sales was a game of ‘get the deal done at any cost, the game is revenue and the finish line is their signature on the dotted line.’

The buyers were living in the salesperson’s world like a first-time scuba diver in shark-infested waters, and the power lay directly in the hands of sales ‘professional’ that could direct the buyer’s mind to the best option possible. The buyer could have any option they wanted… as long as it was the option offered by the salesperson.

Low trust, high fear was the equation in the ‘market’ environment, and it appeared to be an equation that provided little to no answer for anyone involved – at least not for sustained periods of time.

This was the perception – and although the majority of this wouldn’t have been true in the actual day-to-day of buying and selling, the perception was enough to reflect a ‘truth’ that remained strong.

But as the years rolled on, the wind began to change.

The online world emerged onto the scene in a domestic sense and with it came the ability for not only businesses to sell their services online, but for buyers to also do their own research as well.

No longer did the buyer have to accept what they were told by the first salesperson they encountered, no longer did they have to accept what they heard as gospel without the ability to ask the questions that mattered most.

They could now not only ask their own questions – but they could Google them at the click of a button!

The advantage of power between buyer and sales professional was now evenly distributed.

The buyer could have as much power as they liked in choosing who they wanted to speak to, to have their problem solved. Subsequently, which ever salesperson they chose now had the opportunity to sell knowing the buyer was an informed one – who deserved to treated as such.

But the wind wasn’t done changing yet, and the biggest gale force was about to hit.

Because along came a game-changing concept in the idea of social media – predominantly and originally lead the giants of the industry in Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.

Client and buyer attraction is now tailored to the individual more than ever, and the ability for buyers to spread the word about their experiences with particular companies is near endless.

The result is back to a game that is no longer even – and it’s actually where we sit today.

Only the uneven game never went back to the salesperson’s advantage, and it now sits with the buying world more than ever.

Put simply, it’s an incredible time to be a consumer, and the sooner that sales professionals and business owners realise that we’re only at the start of this new consumer-heavy advantage, the sooner they will be able to grow their results.

The general consumer now knows they can get more and more for nothing than ever before, and rightfully deserve it.

They know that if a particular deal, salesperson or company doesn’t suit their needs and desires, they can be the one dictating the flow of the conversation.

And so they should, the consumer deserves it.

But with this is slowly following a change in perception of what it means to be in sales.

The entire buying and selling market as a collective now know we are living in a consumer’s world, and so with that comes the knowledge that a sales professional now must change their positioning, strategy and mindset in a way that shows complete respect for their ideal buyer’s time and attention.

The modern sales professional therefore is turning from a pushy, forceful one to a problem solving, empathetic and relationship building one – and not necessarily out of choice (although that’s always preferred) but more by market forces.

The modern sales professional must put their buyer’s needs before everything else in the moment.

They must leave their own daily disturbances, challenges and baggage at the door to a degree they may have never experienced before.  

They must aim to add so much value first without requiring or expecting anything in return, knowing well that many buyers will take without ever giving back – it’s simply the nature of the game in the modern business landscape.

And with this, the modern sales professional will slowly begin to be seen with increasing levels of respect, gratitude and humility. The full transition isn’t fully over, and perhaps the wind is still rushing at faster and faster speeds of which we aren’t even aware of yet, but the change in perception has most certainly begun.

Darcy J Smyth is the lead trainer and creator of the Tonal Persuasion Method for Sales. Download your free TPM Beginner’s Guide and get started closing sales with this methodology below.

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