Finally, the death of the salesman!

OK, so I know you get this stuff already, but I feel I need to share this with you…because I don’t want us to forget how important the basic principles are.

Something is happening, and we need to keep our eyes open. We need to stay alert. We need to stay ahead of the game.

I also know that the majority of us aren’t taking it anywhere close to as seriously as we should be, and that goes for me too.

I read this article on the BBC a few days ago, and I’ve been thinking about it since.

Let me share my thoughts with you inspired by this article…

If you are planning on being in business in 5 years time, you you need to give this your attention today.

Online car sales to accelerate, as salesmen take a back seat

Read the full article

Here are a few snippets:

“Here’s a personal prediction: 2017 will be the year that tens of thousands of motorists will start to buy new cars not from a salesman, but directly from their lap-tops, tablets and smartphones.”

“You don’t need to have a sales executive driving a sale,” says Michael Canham, a team leader with Hyundai’s sales partner, Rockar.

“If a customer is in a buying mode, they will make that choice naturally themselves.”

Hyundai Rockar has found that just 53% of customers opt to drive a car before buying one.

Now, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand what’s going on here.

I don’t read the news normally, it was my friend Stefan Thomas shared it on Facebook.

This has my attention, let me explain why.

Ever since meeting and learning from Marcus Sheridan in 2013/14 I see the world in a different way. What I see are companies who are transforming and leading their industry, and those that are clinging to the past.

I see the same in freelancers, consultants, marketers and authors. B2B and B2C.

There are those that are embracing changing consumer behaviour, and those that refuse to accept it.

You see, the salesman as we know will be a thing of the past in our generation (BBC article states “in a couple of generations”, but I think it will be a lot faster than this).

Back in September 2015, Marcus visited Scotland to share a message with us. A philosophy. An Idea. A different way of communicating.

The first 7 minutes of his 60 minute closing Keynote encapsulates what we need to know about consumer behaviour and how it has changed forever.

I’ve taken this short segment from his Keynote for you to listen to/watch. Grab a cuppa and learn something…

It’s the companies and business people that understand this that will still be here in 3-5 years. The rest will be struggling or dead.

Here’s a great example of what’s happening in my local area: End of an Era as East Port Garage to close

Stan said: “The motor trade has changed and a lot of business is now done on the internet. There isn’t as much time spent in the show room as the internet has changed all of that.

“The salesmanship has gone. A customer has decided on and researched what they want before they come in.”

It’s a real shame to see businesses closing, but this is a big reality check for business people and why content marketing is critical for your business to stay ahead and survive the significant changes in consumer behaviour.

Changing consumer behaviour & the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT)

You and I know that this is not just about car salesmen, this is about the shift in how we buy things today. It’s just not the same as it was 20 years ago.

Our expectations and habits have changed.

Here are some key factors:

  • Trust in online shopping is increasing
  • We want things faster and more conveniently
  • Product quality is increasing, and prices are reducing
  • This results in commoditisation of products, including cars
  • We have more access to information (content)

Just think about how you make a buying decision today:

  • You read reviews online
  • You watch videos online
  • You read articles online
  • You ask your friends on social media
  • ..etc

In order to make a buying decision you do all your own research and education. You do everything apart from speaking to a sales person. Why? Because you don’t want to be ‘sold’ to. You don’t want to be ripped off. You don’t want to have a bad experience.

As consumers, we are more in control now than ever before, and in most cases, sales people only need to be sufficiently trained to process our payment at the till, and that’s if we ever make it to the shop!

We have access to all the information we need, and if you make a bad buying decision today, you are just plain lazy!

Back to the main article – it states that we used to visit 3 showrooms before buying a car, and now that’s down to one (Marcus calls this ‘dealership hopping’ in this article).

When a customer visits a showroom they already know what they want.

It’s called the’ Zero Moment of Truth’ (ZMOT). I first learned about this is in Jay Bear’s Youtility, and then via Marcus and Google’s own research.

70% of the buying decision is made online before your potential customer contacts your business for this first time.

Finally, the car retail industry is catching on. It won’t be long until the manufacturers are selling directly to consumers just like Tesla, and the ‘car showroom’ will be a distant memory.

So, where are you with this change in consumer behaviour? What are you doing in your business to embrace ZMOT?

If you are planning on making a profit over the next 5-10 years, content marketing and ZMOT should be a big part of the conversation you are having with yourself and your sales and marketing teams.

Jump into the comments section and let me know what’s on your mind.



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About Chris Marr

Chris is the leading voice of the growing Content Marketing movement in the UK. His pioneering work has helped countless organisations grow through content marketing. His drive comes from a desire to help people break free from the world of interruption marketing.