Stop Selling and Start Helping Your Customers

The paradigms of the sales process have changed a lot since, in the 60s, David Ogilvy proposed the Find Me – Sale Me model. In those years, the post-war recovery economy caused consumers to have money to spend, but a limited supply of products. That is to say that at that time, it was very easy to make a sale since the demand exceeded the offer. Based on this scenario, Ogilvy states that in order to be a successful seller, it was only enough to go out and knock on some doors.

The model proved to be successful and continued to be applied for years, creating generations of aggressive sellers who did not consider the needs of their customers and whose sense of success was to sell anything to anyone. It is because of this that the seller’s role becomes stigmatized by society and, in some cases, they are seen as unscrupulous and liars who are only interested in making a sale at any cost.

In the information age in which we currently live, the Ogilvy model has been forced to change to a scheme known as Know Me-Help Me, where sellers must give priority to knowing their customers and their needs in-depth in order to offer them products and services that really help them and add value. The new sales process is based on the generation and accumulation of knowledge by the seller in order to build trust with their potential customers.

Below, we present a scheme that exemplifies the new sales process.

As the scheme shows, the generation of knowledge is from the inside of the company (the products and services offered) to the outside (the customer and its environment). By applying this model, the seller has to become an expert on the products and services offered by his company and an expert on the environment and problems that afflict his customer, in order to help them to make the best purchase decision. In this case, the price variable becomes secondary and should not influence this sales process since the offer from the seller is based on real solutions to real problems.

This kind of sales process tends to take longer since the seller must do a lot of research to get to know the client in-depth, its industry, suppliers, customers, and competitors in order to find solutions and proposals relevant to the customer. Another difference is that in this type of sales process, there is no end since the variables inherent to the client’s problems can change at any time, which implies that new opportunities will arise for the seller to design and create new products and services to solve those changes.

Applying this sales scheme aimed at helping the customer turns the sales process into something enriching and enjoyable for the seller, as he becomes a relevant actor in solving the customer problems, which generates great satisfaction.

We must begin to see sales as a process in which we provide and support the customer, the days of the aggressive salesman are behind. And today, sales should be seen as a process by which we build long-term relationships with the clients.

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Bryan Bejarano, is a marketing professional, living in Costa Rica with a successful track record in marketing management, sales, digital strategy and creative problem-solving for commercialization and promotion of brands in the retail industry and also in the non-profit sector. Find out more: Viva Idea
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