Sales in the modern era has changed radically. The information asymmetry has shifted - resulting in a buyer who often knows more about your product than you do.
But First, A little story...
Before we jump in, I’m going to tell a little story about what I had to go through a few months ago. We come from a family of five. My wife, myself, and we have a baby daughter. And we were expecting a fourth, so we were going from a family of three to four.
I had a truck that I really loved, and my wife came to me and said, “You know what? It’s time to get rid of the truck- it’s time to go get a car that more in line with the family.”
So it’s been a long time since I had to go and buy a car.
I’ve been in the capacity of sales for the past 12 years in one form or another. I started in the commercial real estate industry, jumped into finance, and then went to the high-tech industry. And then now, as the CEO of Business on Market St, my primary responsibility is to develop and bring in new business in the form of sales. So, when I’m about to walk into a car dealership, as a salesperson, I can go in there and I can handle the sales reps that are going to prey me (with the stereotypes that I have propounded upon them).
The auto industry is notoriously known for having very aggressive salespeople. When someone says salesperson, for me, I think of a used car salesman. I know I’m stereotyping, but that’s what happens to me.
I gear up, I get ready, I walk onto the lot and I’m looking around making sure that no one is creeping up behind me to sell me on something. And it’s the first time I’ve been on a car dealership lot to buy something for myself in a really long time. I have no idea what I’m about to buy. So I want to do more research than actually purchase.
And after about fifteen/twenty minutes, I’m looking around and nobody has bothered me yet. What’s going on here? They’re either the worst salespeople in the world or the place is closed. It wasn’t until I walked into the showroom and I asked someone, “Hey, can I take this car out for a test drive?”
They said sure.
And the sales person came by, hopped into the car, took me for a ride. Didn’t try to sell me, gave me as much information as possible. I thought to myself- what is going on? This is completely different than I expected, this is completely different than what I remember.
I’m not sure if anyone has tried to buy a car recently, but the experience has changed dramatically. So I went home and I was talking to my wife and I said, “Alright, I jumped into a couple of cars today, I think I have an idea, maybe I’ll jump online and start doing some research.”
And come to find that there are dozens upon dozens upon dozens of websites; not including each single website that’s affiliated with the car dealership in each location, that has all the inventory. And if you’re looking for a used car, it’s tied to Carfax and all these other things. You can go to TrueCar and you can pull in all the data. And you can literally go and buy a car without the assistance of a salesperson or walking on the lot.
From Buyer Beware to Seller Beware
What began to speak volumes to me, is that this world of information asymmetry has completely shifted. Back in the mid-90s I remember going onto a car dealer lot with my parents. And when you walk onto a lot back in the 1990s, when this information asymmetry was shifted in the world of “buyer beware” (“caveat emptor”). The seller has more information about the product you’re going to buy, and the buyer has to rely upon what the seller is telling you. Today, not just in the car industry, but in real estate, software, and a whole host of other industries. The information asymmetry has radically shifted. Its no longer “buyer beware,” it’s seller beware.” I knew that when I was walking back onto a lot after doing the research I did for about a week. I was going into look at a very specific car on a very specific lot. And when I walked onto that lot, I knew that the person I was speaking to, probably didn’t know as much about that particular car as I did.
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This blog post is part of "Your Definitive Guide to Lead Nurturing" blog series.