The Best Salespeople Don’t Just Sell

The Best Salespeople Don’t Just Sell

The best salespeople don’t just sell.

Of course, they do sell. But they do more than just sell.

The best salespeople are different. They focus on genuinely solving their customer’s problems. 

They understand that selling today means identifying problems, educating their buyers, advising on decisions, and ensuring a successful transformation.

These salespeople don’t sell in the traditional way. Instead, they leverage their industry expertise to expand their reach and build their authority. They build relationships and create educational content that enables them to become ultra-successful in today’s digital sales environment.

And in this week’s Sell with Social, we will focus on what it means to be among these best salespeople. 

A Struggle With the Traditional Approach

Sales has a bad reputation.

It’s often seen as a good ol boys club. Where teams of sales bros are cold calling, handing out business cards, and making “deals” with their customers. The mantra of “always be closing” is the drumbeat that allows their managers to micromanage every activity of every rep.

This version of sales is not attractive to many people.

And ironically, it’s specifically unattractive to the people who would be excellent salespeople in the digital age. 

The people who enjoy building relationships, learning about their products, and creating educational content.

Lauren’s Example

For instance, take Lauren (name changed), a sales rep I talked with recently about her selling journey. Like many people, she found her way into sales based on job opportunities in her local market. 

Not your “typical” salesperson, she studied science in college and would describe herself as an introvert. But despite her nontraditional sales background, she quickly found herself amongst one of the top sales performers in her company. 

Her secret? She understands the power of authenticity. She posts on LinkedIn regularly, sharing insights related to her product, educational resources for her buyers, as well as personal “behind the scenes” views into her life. She regularly gets 100+ post engagements, runs webinars, and has closed some of the largest deals in her company. 

The result is that people want to work with her.

But despite the success, the sales leadership at Lauren’s company is focused on traditional sales activities as the driver of their strategy. So when sales numbers were down across the company, Lauren felt incredible pressure to perform traditional sales tactics, despite her personality being better suited for the digital tactics noted above. 

She told me she’s now concerned she might not be right for sales (despite still being a top performer). Like many of these different reps I talk to, they often feel like they don’t fit into the traditional sales culture. 

However, I believe that is going to change.

A Different Kind of Sales

I believe in a different kind of salesperson. 

The ones that do more than just “sell.” 

The ones that take an educational sales approach. The ones that help their customers understand their problem, and, more importantly, focus on solving that problem.

These are different salespeople. They stand out because they are:

  • Not traditionally salesy. -  You won’t describe these people as “aggressive” or say they “hunt” for their sales. These people are not traditionally salesy in the way they approach their strategy. 
  • Experts in their product. - These people understand the why, what, and how of their products. They enjoy working with their marketing and operations teams, not against them, to help get deals closed. 
  • Create educational content. - They create educational content that educates and informs. They authentically engage prospects at the top of the funnel with this content, establishing trust early on. 
  • Build long-term relationships. - These people focus on creating long-term relationships. They are willing to sacrifice smaller short-term sales for larger long-term partnerships. 
  • Focused on the outcome. - They care about their customer’s outcome, not just closing the deal. They view themselves as a trusted advisor to their customer and create win-win deals.

These are the people who are successful in sales today. Not despite the fact that they are not traditionally salespeople, but because they are different. 

These reps understand that buying behaviors have changed. Our customers have access to information online, and don’t need a sales rep to “tell them” what to buy. 

Instead, our buyers want to work with salespeople who can be educational resources and trusted advisors. 

They are still selling, a lot.

Traditionally, sales have been driven by numbers – more calls, more pitches, more pressure to close. This method often treats customers as mere numbers in a quota, leading to a one-size-fits-all approach. 

But it takes more than traditional “selling” to be successful. 

It takes a thoughtful approach that helps serve the customer from the initial educational social post they read, to the ongoing relationship you have with them after the purchase. 

This is an approach that drives sustainable sales growth. This creates more leads, higher close rates, repeat business, and a positive brand reputation.

Traditional sales is right… numbers matter. And nearly every study shows that these new sales reps sell more:

  • Social sellers outperform their peers. "78% of social sellers outsell their peers who don’t use social media." (LinkedIn)
  • Educational content is the backbone of sales today. "B2B buyers consume an average of 13 content pieces before deciding on a vendor." (FocusVision)
  • Authenticity wins deals. “84% of shoppers agree they are inclined to buy from brands they share values with.” (G2)

The new way of selling is not just a strategy; it's a mindset change. By focusing on solving problems rather than pushing products, we can create a more sustainable, rewarding, and ethical sales environment.

For this week’s action items, I want you to reflect on what you do. Are you selling? Or are you doing something more? 

These questions are relevant if you are in sales, marketing, customer service, or run your own business. We all can meditate on what it means to “sell” in today’s digital world.

Here are this week’s action items:

  1. Reflect on Your Strategy - Review your activities and see if you are doing more than just “selling” your product or service. How are you serving your customers throughout the buyer's journey? Where are you adding value?
  2. Be Different - Embrace being a different kind of salesperson. Start to see your approach as a competitive advantage, instead of a flaw. Over time, your results will speak for themselves.
  3. Explore Catalyst Community - Finally, if you are this different kind of salesperson, I invite you to explore Catalyst Community. This is our online community designed to help you with your digital growth strategies.

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