Sunday, February 24, 2013

Selling To More Informed Customers

Terry Cascioli
Terry Cascioli, the Chief Revenue Officer for the Erie Times-News and, was the featured guest speaker at the Erie Sales Club workshop on Tuesday, Feb. 12. Cascioli and the attendees discussed how the Internet has disrupted the sales process and how sales reps should adjust their approach when selling to more informed customers.

Here are 10 of the best quotes and points of advice from the workshop:

1. Change is permanent. Disruption is something we all have to deal with.

2. I hear all the time that Erie is slow to change. But the change will come.

3. Margins shrink with empowered, informed customers. They walk into a car dealership and know what they should pay for the car. They aren't relying on the salesperson to inform them.

4. With so much information available, consumers believe they can perform services on their own. Real estate is a good example of this. You see "For Sale By Owner" signs because those sellers think they have all the information they need and the real estate agent can't provide them value. A real estate agent needs to convince that consumer their professional service has value.

5. Some people want self-service and want to pay bare bones for it. They don't want consultation, and they don't want to pay for it.

6. Self-service doesn't mean you don't need a salesperson. They can make follow-up calls to the customer to make sure they are satisfied with their purchase. They need to ensure the customer has a good experience.

7. Sometimes self-informed is misinformed. The sales rep needs to identify the misinformation and convince the customer if they're not working with a consultant, they're making a mistake.

8. Technology changes have allowed sales reps to service more customers and service them faster. You can get information and communicate with customers more quickly, but only if you take advantage of the technology.

9. Customers don't want you to learn about them during the first sales call. They want you to do your research online before the call. On that first call, you need to teach them that they need your service.

10. You have to ask yourself frequently, "Is the need for your product changing or declining?"

The Erie Sales Club is a joint effort of four leading local businesses: Jameson Publishing, Marsha Marsh Real Estate Services, VertMarkets, and Howland Peterson Consulting