Thursday, April 2, 2015

Information asymmetry and how it is changing the world of selling

Daniel Pink's keynote at the modern marketing experience conference was great. In the keynote, he talked about how the world of selling is changing due to changes in information asymmetry--what information is available and to who.

In the older days, the salesperson knew a lot more about the product than the consumer, and when they interacted, the salesperson had to convey a lot of information about the product to the consumer in a very short period of time. This time crunch led to the perception that sales people were pushy, fast talkers, and sometimes sleazy. The perceptions were not helped by an experiment where people were asked what was the first word that came to their mind when they recalled an experience with a salesperson. The top 25 words were not flattering.

In the new world, where information is at everyone's fingertips--thanks in a large part to the Internet, and search engines--the information asymmetry shifted the other way, tipping more toward the consumers, who often end up knowing more about the product that they would like to purchase. Pink argues that this shift in information asymmetry would necessitate a corresponding shift in the selling strategy. The new strategy has to shift from the older days' mantra: "Always Be Closing" to one suitable for modern times.

Pink proposes keeping the acronyms ABC intact, but giving them new meaning: "Attunement, Buoyancy, and Clarity." In attunement, the salesperson needs to put the customer needs first, and take their perspective when thinking about products or services that will help them, and explain them clearly. And in the face of rejection, the salesperson has to remain buoyant, and optimistic.

Wouldn't we all as customers prefer that new style of selling.

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