Within the great majority of companies today, the practice of sales as a business discipline has become at best ineffective - and in many cases flat-out obsolete.

Why?  Because good business practices are not static. Outdated methodologies and disciplines simply wither on the vine, and the overwhelming majority of sales processes that we're seeing in today’s marketplace are just that: Outdated. If you want to create revenue, increase customer satisfaction and drive brand equity, stop selling your stuff and start adding value.

I hear complaint upon complaint that customers just don’t have money to spend, and that nobody is buying. If you’re experiencing this type of reaction from your customer, it’s not because they don’t have money to spend, it’s because you’re selling and not adding value. It’s because you’re talking and not listening. It’s because you don’t get it.  It’s no longer about you, your company, your products or your services. It’s about meeting customer needs and adding value.

The problem with too many organizations is that they still operate with the same sales principles and marketing techniques devised in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. While the technology-supporting sales process have evolved over the years, the traditional sales strategies proffered by sales gurus 20 or 30 years ago have not kept pace with market needs. They are not nearly as effective as they once were and, in most cases, they are obsolete. Your prospects and customers have heard it all before. They can see the worn-out, old school sales closes coming a mile away. They can smell the antiquated selling strategies, and immediately tune-out on presentations not deemed relevant.

Answer me this: why do most existing customers prefer to talk to a knowledgeable customer service person rather than a sales representative, when they have an enquiry? Because the perception is that a customer service professional is providing information and helping them meet their needs. A sales person is just trying to sell them something.

I don’t want to talk to someone who wants to manage my account, develop my business, or engineer my sale. I want to communicate with someone who wants to service my needs or solve my problems. Any organization that still has “sales” titles on their organization charts and business cards is living in another time and place while attempting to do business in a world that’s already passed them by. It’s time for companies to realize that consumers have become very savvy and very demanding. Today’s consumer does their homework, and is well informed.  Today's customer buys. They are not sold.

Engage me, communicate with me, add value to my business, solve my problems, create opportunity for me, educate me, inform me, but don’t try and sell to me…it won’t work. An attempt to sell to me insults my intelligence and wastes my time. The reality is that until I know (and trust) that you care more about meeting my needs than yours, you’ll remain on the outside looking in.

The bottom line is that the most important factor in creating revenue and building brand equity is thecustomer. If you don’t engineer everything around the customer, your client relationships will vanish before your very eyes.