The pandemic revolutionised the commercial area because it forced a digital acceleration. This change has disrupted the game, shuffled the cards and dealt them out. In fact, I associate the transformations we have been witnessing in the market with a tsunami that causes the tide to turn suddenly. In a flash, we can see who has been swimming naked all this time. Because it is simple to sell in healthy economies, the big challenge is to do it in the middle of a crisis.

t has ever been so important to invest in sales as at this moment, because in every company there are revenues and costs, and it is important to keep the balance. Therefore, it is fundamental to revolutionise the sector.

Today we still see many practices that were used 20-30 years ago: the main variable for selling is, for many companies, creating a good relationship with the customer. Indeed, closeness to the consumer is still essential, but creating it must become an initial step in the sales process and not a goal. Our purposes must be readjusted and go far beyond this relationship: our major objective must now be, in addition to selling the product, to help the customer win.

Adding and representing value to the buyer's life, knowing how to identify and communicate value propositions, should be our guide to market differentiation. When we help the client to win by applying a solution that solves their challenges, differentiated from the rest of the alternatives on the market and which only we can offer. A company can only afford not to place this emphasis on value if its differentiator is price. If it is offering results, selling premium products, or any other differentiating factor, it must follow this path.

The first step in this journey of transitioning the focus and approach to value rather than 'product', starts with a change in the mindset of the salesperson, who needs to innovate and stop placing the emphasis on the product. The message is simple: move from selling products, to offering value, transition to selling results, rather than services. The soft skills that have always been very important in sales, such as EQ - Emotional Quotient -, empathy, critical thinking and active listening, have become indispensable, but they must now be balanced with the need to improve results. It takes adaptation and a great "mental elasticity" to understand that the customer is only interested in one thing: what we can do for him. It is not important to talk about the product. A product or service is not a solution until the buyer associates it with a problem he wants to eliminate and that justifies his effort in terms of cost and time to achieve it. We must address a problem that interests him. And, having said that, it is not just talking about any problem, it is presenting the issues that only we can solve in a differentiated way.

However, it should be noted that to add value to the customer you need to be willing to listen and to invest time. Today, according to data from the Corporate Executive Board, on average, it is only after 57% of the purchasing journey has been completed that the customer comes into contact with the salesperson for the first time. The consumer already comes to us with prejudices, ideas and self-diagnoses that may not represent the ideal solutions to his problems.

And if there's one thing the best salespeople around the world know, it's that you need to align the qualification and discovery phase before closing any kind of deal. This is how we add value and become essential to any organisation

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