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Product Selling; Better Late Better Never

Sign; Welcome to the world of information selling (solution pitching). Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future returns. Information selling is finding itself in the worst kind of decline; a slow unnoticeable decline – just enough to keep one from waking up.

Instead of selling smart, too many sales people have injected themselves with massive amounts of product information steroids. What they do not recognize is they need to deleverage their product information and use it primarily as a tool for inquiry, not as a tool for convincing.

The formal decision to buy or not to buy is the last stage in the customer's process. Information sellers make the appeal for customers to buy in the first stage in their strategy with an onslaught of enticing information. What is wrong with this picture? They decree their solution right out of the gate as the end-all be-all. This is simply dumb-down selling that has very short ties to reality. And by the way is very dumb.

Mainstream sales people who sell this way are the reincarnation of Arthur Miller's Willy Loman, and will find themselves in the information economy at risk, or being on life-support. Their self-congratulatory, lovefest, sales strategy is constantly getting killed by customers who are giving them non-information, inconclusiveness, non-decision making and little trust.

Information sellers and product pushers are finding more and more that they are off the grid because of the unlimited amount of information that is available in the public domain. There are three safe ways to make a sale; trust, trust and trust. Not with product, self-promotion and information overload. Most information selling is selling with extreme prejudice. It is communicating without communicating.

"Every good thought we have, and every good action that we perform, lays us open to pride (ego) and this exposes us to the various assaults of vanity and self-satisfaction," said William Law. Information sellers have a tendency to always want to put their own stamp and their own signature on a sales call. They let their information do their bidding, instead of letting the customer's information and storyline do their bidding.

Product pushing is a very defensive way to sell. A lot of product placement sellers look at it as if they were on trial; defend, defend, defend. To increase their credibility, some have made an effort to go from the equivalent of pure advertisements to advertorials. But just like an advertorial in a magazine, a dark banner is still placed on the top with the disclaimer "advertising supplement." Either way, their statements still come under very close scrutiny and suspicion because it is viewed as highly prejudicial.

Information overload produces the paradox of choice. Daniel McFadden, an economist at the University Of California says, "Consumers find too many options troubling because of the risk of misperception and miscalculation, of misunderstanding the available alternatives, of misreading one's own tastes, combined with the stress of information acquisition. Indeed, the expectation of the decision can prompt panic and failure to choose at all. Too many options means too much effort to make a sensible decision. Better to bury your head under a pillow or have somebody else pick for you."

When prospects have so many resources for information they will ultimately pick the most convenient and credible. Information sellers are vulnerable to being made obsolete by the very process they created. To make matters worse, in the present day climate of sales person skepticism, few customers like to be told what to think and what to do.

Richard Farrell is President of Tangent Knowledge Systems, a national sales development and training firm based in Chicago. He is the author of the upcoming book Selling has Nothing to do with Selling. He trains and speaks around the world and has authored many articles on his unique non-selling sales posture.

Phone: 773-404-7915
EMail: rfarrell@tangentknowledge.com
Web: http://www.tangentknowledge.com