A few weeks ago, I was in the U.K. on business and was able to steal away for an afternoon to tour Parliament. It’s an interesting way to spend an afternoon and I recommend it to you.
However, believe it or not, there’s also a valuable sales lesson in that storied building. It has to do with the reigning monarch.
After the English Bill of Rights was codified in 1689, all subsequent Kings and Queens became Constitutional Monarchs. That means certain limits were placed on their power. Basically, we were told, the Royals suddenly had influence but no authority. Prime Ministers can turn to the Ruler for advice because of their breadth of experience, but they don’t have to listen to that advice. It’s a wise Prime Minister who asks, though. After all, if there’s some challenge facing the country, there’s a good chance that the monarch has already experienced it.
Today’s buyers have the same attitude toward their salespeople.
They want you to influence them, but they know they have the ultimate authority to make whatever decision they face. This is especially true given the Corporate Executive Board’s research indicating that 57% of the buying process is done by the time a prospect is ready to talk to a salesperson. They can choose not to listen.
However, like a Queen or King, your experience is also invaluable. There’s also a pretty good chance that whatever challenge they’re facing is one you have probably faced with your prospects and customers in the past. They want you to help guide them.
As Paul Bilodeau, The Brooks Group's VP of Sales & Marketing says,
“Today’s buyers secretly want to be led.”
It’s also why your sales team should follow a customer-focused, non-manipulative sales process.
Who knew the British Monarch had something to teach a team of salespeople?!