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Adapting to the Modern Buyer in Automotive

The buyer is not who they used to be, people are much more tech savvy and impatient than they were, with the development in technology the buyer is more empowered and independent than ever before. Do you feel you are up to date with the modern buying process?


The modern buyer

The modern buyer is more informed and inquisitive than ever before, they have all of the resources to research not only the product that they are interested in, but also the company and the competitors. 

“ 61% of buyers do extensive research before contacting the seller. Of those buyer's, 72% use social media as a primary research source. ”

They have the ability to do this research wherever and whenever they want, so by the time sales has a chance to talk to the buyer they are almost already decided on what they want and how they want it. 

“ 57% of the buyer's journey is complete 
before prospects even speak to a sales rep. ”

So how is a salesperson meant to sell when the buyer has all of the power? They need to inform, they need to be the most helpful and provide the most beneficial solution to the problem that the buyer is facing.

The modern buyer doesn't want to be sold to. They want to be helped with the problem that they are facing. The seller needs to provide more help than the content, they need to add value and really work to understand the situation that the buyer is in and therefore the solution that is best for that person. 

Legacy sales process

Let's take a step back, sales hasn't always been customer centric. Buyers did not have as much control as they now do and now as a result of this change in relationship between salesperson and buyer, not all sales teams have had the chance to catch up.

The goal for salespeople previously was to get their product in front of as many people as possible, be it calls, emails or adverts it didn't matter who it would be seen by as long as it was seen. When a salesperson had the attention of a prospect it then was about the sale, it was a matter of making the prospect buy the product by firing information at them and telling the prospect that they need to buy the product. This is because the seller held the keys to all the information, the buyer needed the seller.

“ Selling is more solution-based than ever before, so you can’t take the lead in sales conversations from the beginning. You have to ask pertinent questions that pull out relevant information and make 100% sure you understand your prospect’s situation before you begin making any sort of recommendation ”

The legacy sales process worked because the buyers did not have as much access to information so what they knew about the product was what the salesperson had told them. Similarly salespeople didn't worry themselves with extensively documenting customer's details/ calls or emails, a spreadsheet and note pad with a name and number would do, however that's now not enough. Companies can’t rely as much on word of mouth, budgets are being cut, there’s less commitment, and there’s a LOT MORE COMPETITION:

“ Sales tools are used by nearly all top sales professionals In fact, 98% of top salespeople report using sales technology on the job and only a small minority — 2% — use no sales tools ”

Inbound Sales 

So what is the solution? Inbound.

“ Inbound sales teams build a sales process that supports the buyer through their journey. As a result, the salesperson and the buyer feel like they are aligned, rather than at odds with one another, through the buying and selling process. ”

The inbound approach to sales and marketing differs from the legacy sales process as it is much more about informing and helping your prospects than selling your product to your prospect. Obviously we all want to sell, and inbound salespeople are no different in that sense, the difference is that we are targeting the right customers for the product and making sure that the product will add value and be beneficial to the customer.

Sure, buyers have the power, but sellers have access to the same tools, if not more. Sellers have the opportunity to do a LOT MORE RESEARCH using free tools like LinkedIn to truly understand a buyer. In the modern age of selling, if sellers have done a good job, they should have enough prospects lined up that they’re not desperate to close every single sale.

So where do you stand? Are you a legacy sales person or have you adopted the inbound methodology? We would love to know your thoughts on this and if you have any extra points or think we've have missed anything out please let us know either through our Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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About the author

Picture of James Walters

James Walters is the Commercial director at The Tree Group, a sales agency that helps companies sell into Automotive, Motorsport, and Defence. He has worked with leading motorsport brands including Brembo, Prodrive, Aston Martin Racing, Nissan Motorsport International (NISMO), Hella, AP Racing, Arai, and Simpson.