Customers have changed.
In the past, sales reps would be tasked with “solution selling“—i.e. being adept at discovering customers’ needs and selling them solutions to those problems. In other words, the sales rep would ask the customer questions to diagnose their problem (need diagnosis) and would “sell” them a product that their company produces which provides a solution to the customer’s problem (need fulfilment).
But in recent times, customers require less help from salespeople to find solutions to their problems. This is likely because:
- the wealth of information available to customers has multiplied exponentially;
- the access to such information has become ubiquitous [in Western nations] (predominantly due to the internet); and
- customers have become increasingly dexterous at researching, curating and analysing information.
The result of these developments is that customers are able to self-diagnose problems and research solutions themselves.
Why does this matter?