It’s likely that the debate between what constitutes “marketing” and “selling” will never end. The division between the two is blurred by social media and social tools that allow salespeople to reach their target market. When we heard that John Jantsch, the author of Duct Tape Marketing, was promoting his new book, we jumped at the chance to ask him a few questions.
Note: His new book, Duct Tape Selling, will be released May 15, 2014.
1. In your book, you mention that salespeople need to think of themselves as ‘guides’ in the customer’s buying process. How is this different from ‘old school selling’ and why do you think this shift has occurred?
The main difference is that they need to get involved in the customer’s journey long before a customer signals they have a need. They need to start developing relationships and demonstrating expertise early on.
2. Do you think the ‘used car salesman’ (salesperson!) stereotype still exists in business culture? (And do you think this would ever change?)
Sure it still exists and probably will for some years, but the stereotype doesn’t need to apply to everyone in the profession. The skill set required to thrive in the world of selling today will also cause many organization to rethink the make up of the ideal salesperson as well.
3. The tagline of your book is “think like a marketer, sell like a superstar”. What do you say to those salespeople that claim they don’t have time to be a marketer because they are busy selling?
You’re building an asset that will allow you to win more deals and make substantially more money. Think of it like someone that holds down a full time job while getting an MBA. They do it to advance their career and they find the time.
4. In your book, you write: “Sales is no longer only about being found and providing educational information (although those are still important). To stay relevant, you must have prospects looking to you as an adviser, teacher, time-saver, problem solver and guide on life’s journey.” What are 2-3 ways that salespeople can become more of an adviser through the sales process?
Learn everything you can about a prospect by studying your buyer and her entire network, the culture of the organization, the content they put out, their competitors, what people are saying about them and host of other bits of information you can pick up with just a bit of time spent online. Start filtering useful content, such as blog posts and articles to share online in social networks and use tools like Scoop.it to build personalized news pages just for your prospects.
5. What are your favorite social tools? And how can they help salespeople think like marketers?
6. What type of content do you think salespeople should regularly produce? And how should it be used either individually or for the company?
In a perfect world content would be a blend of high quality content put out by the company (blog posts, articles, ebooks and infographics) and personalized content put out by individual salespeople (email that addresses a frequently asked question, relevant case studies and curated content specific to the prospect or client).
John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network. His latest book, Duct Tape Selling – Think Like a Marketer, Sell Like a Superstar is available online and in bookstores May 15.