Updated: Apr 6
The old notion of ‘seek a prospect and find a value proposition’, to sell them on, solving the problem with solutions, is long past – may it RIP.
It evolved as a consultative version of a selling model build on English turn of the last century, 'Door to Door Sales' (Hoover, household electrical goods etc.) even that was preceded by Gypsies selling pegs and 'rag rugs' door to door. I believe the Romans had a version of Passing trade too, which involved ladies-of-the-night.
That door to door method reached broader markets post second world-war in the US with Door to Door Brush Salesmen, and was the big picture model for most selling skills post that time – evolved yes, but essentially the same..
Enough of the history, the emerging reality is sales as a skill is itself under threat as we lurch towards new markets driven by unknown or emerging needs – all moving a pace, as yet unseen needs.....
“What you need today, you didn’t know existed yesterday.”
From that thinking I have followed some thoughts along the path of a Sales Inversion Model – no, not a new sales plan I’m about to sell you, it’s a theory – so you’re safe to read on.
All the old models in some way or another worked on numbers and funnels – sales prospects into the wide top of the funnel and as the opportunities progressed along the applied sales order process (chosen or utilised) until they popped out of the bottom of the funnel as sales/orders – high fives all round, someone gets paid!
I propose that selling as a Skill, Sales has moved on too – if you’re involved in Sales, Sales Leadership and selling in anyway – you are about to see radical change to how you work…
I think we arrived at a model I will call ‘Sales Inversion’ (the funnel is up-ended) – a product or solution may be a totally unknown product to you – but a key part of an ecosystem/solution you may desperately want.
I'm going to explain that last proposition with an example or two:
The precis of this is, I have been using DSLR cameras for some years, investing 000’s in lens's and other ‘must have’ photography items over time. Long story short, Apple created the current iPhone (X – onwards) which moved the DSLR camera into the same category as a dinosaur.
Exploring that Ecosystem, I found things I didn’t know I needed – a Video cage, Add-on lens’s – Telephoto, Macro and Wide angle, a Lightening port Microphone – you get the picture (pun intended).
So why the thought process – here is the hub of that. Apple alone did not create a photographic aftermarket – the smart product developers et alia created products that utilised the Ecosystem to reach a whole new category of value and use for the Smartphone Ecosystem – I’m not promoting or tied to any smartphone producer in any way – just a good example of ‘Sales Inversion’ – Android, Apple or others sell the latest phone and accessories, because one feature happens works well in that ecosystem – the camera. There was no way for them to find me and sell me on the value. I was embraced by the Ecosystem that surrounds that part of a smartphone device. Last year an unknow Ecosystem to me, I now happily own and use.
Just so you get the picture – to record this and create this topic as a 'Future Skills' video (which includes diagrams and process explanations) I wanted to use the Phone with some of those accessories to record the video. Hampered by the number of connections I needed for my USB PC Mic and Camera connected to the PC and Movie Editing software – I stumbled, via (YouTube) over a wireless app that turns the Phone into a 4K capture device streaming wireless video to my PC – issue solved, and I now have an App to do that for me. Alright so I’m a geek – I get it, but the point remains that I was a never a sales prospect for any of this – I only came across the available solutions because they were part of the Ecosystem I was ‘Orienting In’ = ‘Sales Inversion’ I found a solution I didn’t know I needed or existed.
So humor me a little more, to extend that thought process – think about Electric Vehicles. In some parts of the world they are selling at pace – In Australia not-so-much. Are we slow to see the value, understand the economic and environmental impacts? No, I don’t think so. I would suggest the challenge is more that EV’s are sold the same way as traditional fossil fuel internal combustion engine vehicles, by the same methods and people to the same potential market of you and me. And much more expensive.
So lets’ apply some ‘Sales Inversion’ thinking to that process. Add Renewable energy into the Ecosystem, Charging and Battery Support for my Home and possibly the Grid. Charge my car with Solar Panels with Wireless charging – and gain back the limited boot space occupied by long, copper cables to plug into charging stations…
So what just happened? The Battery based Electric Vehicle (EV) just became a part of a Renewable Energy Ecosystem – why does that matter I hear you say, well imagine, as you many have done already, look for a Solar Panel solution on your roof – (well done the world thanks you). Now add another $15-20,000 for battery back-up so when the power goes off, your house will be the only one in the street with the lights on…
Or wait a moment, some EV manufacturers are producing power in/power out vehicles – ones that will use the 60 to 100 KW hours battery the car has to run your home (6 to 10 times the size of the average Tesla wall option)…..same cable same plug. OK hold that thought and figure what would happen if Governments got involved and provided incentives for investment in home batteries or EV’s that could be used as such… Now we have a funded sensible Ecosystem – I may end up buying a new car because I want to end Fossil fuel use, Save the Whales, Cut the cost of Electricity, Reduce the cost of Fuel, (I now work remotely so the daily commute doesn’t get factored in) “insert your own reasons here.”
I may simply be motivated to help Australia modernise the Grid and delivery system to reduce the risk of Bushfires. Welcome to Sales Inversion, all valid Ecosystems, that may induce me to convert to an Electric Vehicle for my own reasons. And the Government gets an Australia-wide Battery Back-up system, grid connected to provide Power where needed and when, removing the need for Gas, Coal powered Generation - Fossil fuel targets met - Happy car owners paying sales Tax and enjoying the benefits of EV ownership. Lessen the strain on the aged Power Grid now very old and woefully out-of-date. Making off-grid power an option for remote locations and all they had to do was provide Incentives to buy an EV…
AgylisANZ - Future Skills, Future Workplace