me: I’m interested in your software.
sales rep: let’s set up a demo
me: sure, I’m in!
[sales rep does the demo. low (no) pressure, not salesy. cool, i thought.]
After the demo, I’m not totally ready to commit, but I have the budget and I’m totally interested.
What he emphasizes is:
“I’m not here to sell you. take your time. don’t want to buy now? That’s fine. I’ll be here when you’re ready.”
i thought to myself – “wow, what nice guy, finally someone who’s not pushy. this is great!”
…but guess what: i never bought a single thing that was “sold” to me like that.
Turns out, no-pressure wishy-washy sales isn’t what buyers want.
Just because high-pressure, pushy sales is horrible doesn’t mean that its opposite is great.
A great buying experience is one where
you provide new insight
you show them new (realistic) perspectives
you excite the buyer
you challenge the buyer’s POV
you make them think harder about what’s best for them
you even get them out of their comfort zone.
Good marketing and selling architects those experiences.
I think phrases like “the buyer controls the process” are misleading. True, but misleading. What it actually means:
✅ if you force the buyer to do things they don’t want to (like sit through senseless BANT meetings just to get an approximate price), they will dump you.
And they should!
✅ you should provide multiple ways of buying from you that align with buyer expectations.
What it DOES NOT MEAN is that
❌ you shouldn’t have an agenda and you shouldn’t try to control the process. Yes, I said it! “you have to architect and influence the journey”.
❌ you shouldn’t use ethical and effective ways of persuasion in both marketing and sales. Because you should! Otherwise you’re not going to create the experiences we talked about.
Wait, doesn’t that contradict the buyer controlling the process? No. Here’s why:
You need to have stepping stones that lead to the sale… like steppig stones to cross a river.
And you (marketing and sales) need to guide the buyer to step on the stones that are right FOR THEM at the time.
Sometimes they’re not ready to cross the river, and you don’t push them… Other times, you realize they need to cross a different river, so you refuse to take them across.
If they feel they need a different path, you help them…
You’re there to guide them… because you know the way, they FEEL you have their best interest in mind.
That’s great marketing and sales.