The new client power dynamic that professionals were never taught to deal with
We’re continuing our new series of video Questions and Answers recorded during the recent ESCRS trade show that took place at the Excel Centre in London. Today Rod Solar answers a question that many experienced non-sales professionals might be wondering – why do I need to bother selling now when I never needed to before?
Question: Why do professionals need to sell now when before they didn’t need to?
That’s a great question, a lot of things have changed. One of the main things is that the power dynamic between professionals and non-professionals – who are their customers or clients – has completely changed.
These days you have people who don’t put their professionals on a pedestal. They don’t simply just go to someone because of their title, ask them a bunch of questions and walk away with the recommendation as if it’s the gospel truth.
Today, consumers are considerably more savvy. They are doing their own research. They have the capability and access to do their own research in ways that are unparalleled at any other time. And they are making use of it. Becoming a good consumer has been drilled into us and one of the main reasons for that is because there has unfortunately been a lack of professionalism in a lot of environments whether they be medical or in building, in government, etc.
Trust has eroded. People are trusting things and people less and less. They are taking the onus on themselves to do their own diligence. And when that happens they assume a power dynamic position that professionals were never taught to deal with. They were taught essentially that: they are the ones with the opinions, they ask a few questions, provide a good recommendation and that is all there is to it. The customer should simply agree, comply, and move on.
It’s just not happening that way anymore.
Customers have objections. Clients have their own questions they want answers on. They might even come out and ask you, “Why should I do it with you as opposed to your colleague down the street”.
That’s another issue that has developed: the competition. In the past there might be one doctor or one engineer or one lawyer in every small town. As people move and become more urban they have access to considerably more supply than they ever did. Today there are directory pages full of professionals in almost every category you can imagine in major urban centres.
Choice, we are spoiled for it.
So customers are looking at you in a set of many of your competitors now (they used to be colleagues), to choose what is best for them. In order to do so; to choose, they become more savvy. They are demanding to know distinctions that they otherwise would have never concerned with. In so doing, they are becoming a lot more demanding.
And so as a professional you need to really be in tune with that. You need to communicate in such a way that even by how you communicate creates a distinction between you and your colleagues.
It’s not enough to simply know what you are doing and to do it as best as you can. You now need to communicate that you know what you are doing and are the best in your field. And if you can do that, then the rewards will follow.