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Top performing sales people know their success depends on being both creative and disruptive. They have to wear a lot more hats than in the “old days.” They must be analytical and knowledgeable with the ability to provoke ideas and inspire innovative solutions to problems that buyers may not even know they have.
By being creative, you are also being disruptive since you are asking your buyers to change from something they’re familiar with, to something new.
Being successful in sales is much different now than in the past. There was no internet, so success was achieved based on what you were selling and your relationships with your buyers. There was a lot of schmoozing, talking about families, drinking, lunches, golf − you get the drill. You did whatever it took to establish credible relationships.
But today, it is much different. Sales people no longer just sell products and services. They’ve become experts and consultants, and buyers look to them for ideas, guidance and advice to help them solve a problem or achieve business goals. Sometimes, that means you need to be creative and disruptive.
As a sales person, you must know a ton about your buyer(s). You must know their industry, what their peers are doing successfully, and if they are leaders or laggards when it comes to innovations or new trends. In essence, you must become an expert and a thought leader.
It takes a lot of knowledge, insight and expertise to get to know their business almost as well, if not better, than they do. And, hopefully, you already have a few customer success stories to share proving the value of your products and services.
At the same time that you are trying to be a thought leader in the buyer’s organization, you are also being disruptive as you try to ascertain their tolerance for risk and change.
Many buyer organizations struggle with change even if it helps them get to their ultimate goals and business objectives. The change may be blessed and approved by executive management, but those who are actually implementing the change may not see the same benefits. They may resist and slow down the change, or worse, ensure an unsuccessful outcome.
You need to understand every key stakeholder’s tolerance for any variations to their current way of doing things, the impact on each stakeholder if transformation is needed, and the effects of status quo versus change on the entire organization.
Being creative and disruptive is not a big stretch for top sales performers. But acquiring the skill and knowledge to do it really well takes the right mindset as well as time. Are you both a creative and disruptive sales person?