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Your Solution is Only as Good as Your Customer's Alternatives

Information selling is so gratifying and so popular because it gives sellers the illusion of an emotionally uplifting experience that is self-affirming and is easy on the front-end. However, the sense of false security does not last long because it is so down-lifting on the back-end and it cancels out the original advantage. Simply put, information selling bears the seeds of its own self-destruction.

I have (product), therefore I am (valuable), is the way most conventional sales people brand themselves. Information sellers remind me of two famous quotes by two very different philosophers: A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing – William Shakespeare, and Empty tin cans make the most noise – Mike Ditka. Sales people are so checked-in with themselves and their infomercials that customers are invariably checked-out.

Selling is truly one of the most subjective professions on planet earth, yet sales people sell as if it is anything but. Devout information sellers view their offerings as bigger than life, and then to add sizzle they explain and expound its attributes with a personality that is bigger than life, leaving customers often feeling small and irrelevant.

Mainstream sales people love to sell value-add in their information pitches. But one needs to first hear directly from the customer if they are experiencing any value gaps. It is hard to convince someone to add on to something that is not considered lacking. Information sellers feel that without their product as the centerpiece of a sales transaction they will be rendered invisible and irrelevant, and their voice and input will be silenced.

Show and tell sellers have idealized their solution and product so much that everything else plays second fiddle to it. You limit and pigeonhole your insight, input and your value as soon as you jump the gun by defining your solution. When you meet your superficial needs to sell with information prematurely, you suppress your customer's authentic needs and their unique story.

Most sales people's pitch is so laden with self-promotion and self-preservation that they lose credibility and trust. Their steadfast, single-minded focus and approach puts them at a severe disadvantage because it anesthetizes customers to the point that they shut down and discount severely everything they have heard.

Moreover, armed to the teeth with their information and proof of concept, they run the risk of being perceived as patronizing as they unleash their unsolicited expertise on unsuspecting customers. Things in excess cause their opposite is a perfect way to describe most information sellers.

Information sellers love to leave their personal mark and signature. They look at their product expertise as their personal legacy, and they proudly flaunt it at the drop of a hat. Their self-admiring sales calls leave customers more confused and cornered than resolved and educated. And they leave sales people suggestible to grandiose, promising outcomes that rarely are fulfilled.

Being a pawn on the customer's chessboard is never fun. Customers know how to expertly game sales people for their temple of information, and sales people are more than willing to oblige them.

Information selling falls short because sales people are never really present; they are immersed in their own train of thought and constantly in pursuit of more information for their counter-points. They pay attention according to their own personal taste, and if they do listen, it is too often with only benign attention. This all happens because in their mind it is all about who has access to the most information. The reality is the more you use information to inform, the less time your customer has to inform you of their most pressing challenges. Simply put, information selling stifles a free-flowing, information exchange.

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