Arguing Serves No Purpose

As a general rule, I don’t run into many jerks in groups on LinkedIn. Until…

Day before yesterday, I responded to a question posed about social selling. I have my opinion about the topic and it’s just that – my opinion. Wouldn’t you know it, an arrogant, self-serving bozo with a sales agenda found it necessary to try and tear me down.

Innocently, I said that I respectfully disagreed with his perspective. That didn’t go over well, because judging from his subsequent comments, I imagine him staring at my words on sista…I’m going to prove that you’re wrong and I’m right.

Why the beef? Well, this gentleman ( I use the term loosely) took exception with my belief that the buying process has changed. He felt it necessary to tear down “my argument”…I wasn’t arguing but he certainly was. Perhaps a better way to have phrased my comment was to say that in the minds of buyers and executive decision makers today, the process has changed. The internet and social media has totally changed the game. Buyers are better informed, expect more and have no time for sales people who blather on about themselves without considering what’s best for the person they are trying to sell too. But for those delusional sales folks still living in the land of Glengarry Glen Ross, they believe that yesterday’s sales approach is still as successful as it ever was. But even Alex Baldwin’s character, Blake, the hot-shot sales strategist brought in by Mitch and Murray to “motivate” the discouraged salesmen advocated warm calls. Gee, I wonder why. As sales people, any time that we can connect with people based on experiences or people that we have in common, it makes our initial interactions and beyond so much more powerful.

While technically the “process” of how a sale moves through the funnel is the same, it is how the buyer sources information (often without sales reps being involved) and decides to engage with companies and their sales people is what has changed. Expectations are also higher. For years, solution selling or a consultative sales approach has been advocated as a more effective way to engage prospects. I agree. But here’s the problem…a large majority of sales people are not following that approach.

The point is that buyers expect that sales people have evolved their approach. They want trusted advisors who understand their business issues and focus their attention on making sure that they can help solve them. Today’s savvy buyers do not need a sales rep who merely recites the same ole blah, blah, blah from their spec sheet.

I guess I should have used words like evolved or said that buyers think differently, but I don’t think that would have mattered to Mr. I’m a Smarter Sales Professional Than You Are. After I responded to his first surly post smacking me down, which then led to him becoming an even bigger jerk, my final comment was “you gotta love diversity of thinking”.

The morale of the story. Arguing gets you nowhere and hurts your professional reputation and brand to boot. Yes, I responded to his first nasty backlash…keeping it professional mind you, but when it became obvious that he just wanted to win, I let it go. Funny thing happened though…others in the group rose up to support me and the dude never said another word.


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