The Salesperson of the Future will be Invisible
No, I am not indicating that the future will be void of human contact, nor am I down playing the importance of relationships. I am simply conveying that people now have a strong aversion to being “sold” to.
This is especially true for institutional investors. They want to feel in control, that they have objectively made the decision to approach you, not the other way around. You will never convince an allocator of anything. They don’t want to be convinced. You can, however, present information in a logical manner, and let them arrive at their own conclusion. How you present that information is “the sell”.
Are salespeople still critically important? Absolutely. Like anything else, sales is a respected profession. The difference today is that “the sell” has to be invisible: the salesperson is an omnipresent, supportive force that is unknowingly guiding interest, influencing opinion, and shaping the path forward.
In the old days, you could grab prospects by the arm and pull them in your direction. This is no longer possible. More often than not, the “prospect” is as informed, or even more informed, than you are.
It is critical to keep this in mind when approaching investors. For example if an allocator is looking for a real estate fund, there's a good chance they have spoken to a lot of managers running real estate strategies. If you enter into that conversation claiming to be “different,” it actually does you harm if the last 10 managers are making the same claim. This is a big point. Investors tend to have a way more informed outlook on the competition than you do. (Have you recently talked to 20 of your competitors…probably not.)
When shaping your sales process create an environment where the prospect falls through your information. The process has to feel natural. There can’t be any hard turns or twists. The fabled “close” can’t feel forced. The prospector’s journey should end with a natural conclusion of yes or no.
This blog in itself is a good example.
By Kyle Dunn