For years, we’ve become accustomed to using GPS to help us get to where we are going. I have GPS in my cars, on my bike, and on my IPhone.
I used to use it only for destinations I had never been to before. Now, particularly on longer or complicated trips, I use it, even though I know the direction. The GPS helps me with traffic, road construction, or anything that may have changed since my last trip.
It’s useful to think of buying and sales GPSs.
Consider it from a buyer’s point of view. They are probably considering something they haven’t done before–though they may have been on similar journeys. Or things may have changed, substantively, since they last bought. Something that helps the customer effectively and efficiently navigate their buying journey can be very powerful.
But where do they get that advice?
They can make educated guesses. Just like when we are headed somewhere without a GPS, “I know it’s somewhere in that direction, roughly 10 miles from here……” Inevitably we wander and get lost.
Perhaps one of the buying team has been to the destination before. While it’s been a while, they can help the buying team reach their destination. They may not be taking the most effective or efficient route. But they can help the buying team get there.
Perhaps they can ask others who have done this before. They might help avoid major roadblocks (“Stay away from I405, it’s a disaster with all the construction…”) But often, it’s not as helpful as it might be, they started from a different place and they may have had a slightly different destination.
Then there’s the sales person. Perhaps we can think the sales person might act like the buyers’ “Uber Driver.” Most driver’s I’ve met are very polite. (Well there was one in Atlanta…..). The best give me some choices, with some insight, “The freeway is the shortest and should be the fastest, but we are in the middle of rush hour….” And one time, the driver gave some insights about our route and the history of the area (In London).
I know I am pushing the example a little, the point is, the people most likely to be helpful when the customer is trying to reach a destination, is the sales person. After all, they have been on similar journey’s before. While each is different, they have the experience of hundreds of similar journeys and can be most helpful.
But what about sales people and their “GPS?” Sadly, too many don’t use it. They may have a selling process based on the past experience of buyers’ journeys. But too often they just ignore it.
Too often, sales people act as though they are driving “bumper cars.” They set off in a direction until something knocks them off course, then another thing knocks them off course. Too often, they lose their way, reacting to their customers (who may be lost) and to their competition.
Even though we’ve “been there before,” things change. We have to use our GPS to help us become aware of changes, if things are different than we have experienced. Using our GPS helps us determine the best course to achieve our objectives.