What’s in it for me?

What’s in it for me?

Spoken or unspoken, this question is asked of every sales professional by each of their customers. And in today’s digital age,  customers are asking this question – not only about your products and services – but about why they should even talk to a seller. 

WIIFM? This acronym poses a question that has been asked forever by customers and prospects alike. But never has it been so complex. Why should I even talk to you? What’s in it for me?

I recently asked my friend, Matt Ondrof, for his take on this new world of selling. As the Director of Sales for MOFB Insurance, Matt leads a team of over 200 Agency Sales Managers and Insurance Agents. He has led his team to adapt to selling in this new digital age and has some great insights to offer. 

To set the stage, consider this:

Customer receptivity has plummeted. No one wants to talk to sellers. According to a 2020 study by McKinsey, customers’ willingness to talk to a seller when evaluating a solution has declined by 120% in the last three years. 

The reason? Mainly, the amount and the availability of information online. Customers would rather do a quick Google search on their own than take the time to talk with someone in sales. 

Times have changed. 

Ten to fifteen years ago, software sales professionals knew more than their clients (and were expected to). Nowadays, customers do their research before they speak with a sales professional. They can learn about your products and services, features and benefits, without your help. Sales professionals are often treated as unnecessary, obsolete, even annoying. 

This has made selling extremely challenging today. As an experienced seller in the insurance industry, I thought Matt would be particularly insightful in answering my question:

When facing competition from the “DIY” and “self-serve” digital market (which is a common reality to many sellers in this day and age), how do we still connect with customers and get buy in?

Matt told me that his team has learned to evolve from transactional sellers to become thought partners for their customers.

Sellers still have the expertise, experience, and knowledge of their business that renders them able to ask the right questions, share insights, and guide their customers through the decision making process. 

Think about it: Customers will (probably) only evaluate/ purchase your offering a few times in their life or career – they don’t necessarily know the best way to make a decision regarding your particular product or service. However, as a representative of your solution (AE or SE), you are an expert on your offering and the industry you work in. 

You do this every single day. You know the best way to help your customer make a decision. 

That is why it’s important for customers to talk to sellers. That’s the answer to their “WIIFM” query. 

And the success of this consultative approach applies in both B2B and B2C sales. 

Again, the amount of information that customers have access to is staggering. While it can be helpful for customers to conduct their own research, oftentimes, it can have the adverse effect. Customers become so overwhelmed with options they need a trusted partner to guide their decision making process. 

Matt told me that many folks will dabble in the “self-serve” world and then end up coming back to ask for help from experienced professionals.  

Matt summed it up perfectly with this quote: “The recommendations are mine, the decisions are yours.”

This consultative approach respects everyone’s right to make their own choices and creates an environment of trust. It gives sellers the power to do what they do best: serve their customers by helping them make the best decision for themselves and their business. 

If you’re interested in hearing more on this subject, check out my full interview with Matt. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn