Don’t believe everything you hear about selling in a digital world.

You’ve probably heard the often-quoted statistic that says 57 percent of the buying process is complete before a customer talks to a salesperson. Rubbish. Believe that, and you’ll look like everyone else to your buyers. You’ll get in way too late. Your prospects will be confused about how your solution is different from the next guy’s. Sure, you might land the deal, but you certainly won’t make an impression.

The key to differentiation is getting in early—ideally before your prospects even know they have a need. How? Get a business referral, and you have a clear path to learning the real issues, building trusted relationships, and knocking out the competition before they even learn there’s an opportunity. There’s no confusion about why you’re different.

The problem with stats is that we tend to believe them—without digging deeper into their meaning or verifying their authenticity. Even if the figure comes from, it must be true. Numbers don’t lie, after all. We take stats as gospel, especially if they confirm what we want to hear.

Believing the 57 percent myth is an easy out. It means there’s less work for salespeople to do. And therein lies the problem. If we believed everything we heard or read, we’d never master anything, and success would be elusive.

Bob Apollo shares his take on the 57 percent stat in his recent article, “When your customers DO want to speak to a sales person.” He refutes that stat and brings a fresh perspective to this oft-debated topic. Here’s a snippet:

When your customers DO want to speak to a salesperson
By Bob Apollo

There’s been a great deal of comment—often from people and organisations who frankly should know better—about how today’s B2B customer doesn’t want to engage with a sales person until late in their consideration.

That comment is based on studies and statistics that appear to show that the average potential customer is variously 57%, 60% or more than 70% through their decision-making journey before they see value in a sales conversation.

But no customer is “average”. And those simplified statistics and headlines—supported by naïve and often self-serving interpretations from people and organisations attempting to peddle a particular point of view—hide a much more nuanced reality.

When you dig into the facts behind the facts, a much more complex reality emerges …


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