If your sales team is selling the same way they did 10 years ago, then it is jeopardising your business’s growth.
Sure, you’re still here. Business is okay, but it could be better. And don’t you want that? Better ROI’s, shareholder return, visible growth and greater transparency of future sales?
We could all rattle of a large list of things that have changed over the past decade, and most of them would come down to advances technology.
But another huge ‘disruption’ to the ‘way we were’ was the global financial crisis which permanently transformed the way people did business. Decision-makers have different pressures on them now than they did pre-recession and this has presented some new challenges for those in sales;
- Sales cycles are longer
- Prospects are more cautious and conservative on where they spend their money
- It is more difficult to reach busy decision makers
- Cash flow has become tighter
- Margins are under pressure from a hyper competitive market
- Relationship selling has lost its impact and there’s a new breed of salesperson that outperforms all others
If you and your business haven’t altered your sale techniques - the way you source leads, prospect, nurture and close new clients - you are doing a huge disservice to your bottom line. So what needs to change?
1. Out with the relationship builders and in with the challengers
The most successful salespeople are seen as the ones who build the best relationships with clients – the pseudo-mates who are generous with their time and always aim to please. But, according to extensive research, this is completely inaccurate, and the very best sellers come under the category of being challengers.
As noted in this article by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson (authors of ‘The Challenger Sale: Taking control of the customer conversation’) challengers do three things that other salespeople don’t. They; teach their customers, tailor their sales message to the customer, and they take control of the sale.
2. It’s not what you sell, it’s how you sell it
This comes down to a simple act of execution; be a problem-solver and not a product/service pusher. People don’t care about all the ‘bells and whistles’ your product or service has, they care about what difference it will make in their life. This means salespeople need to shift their way of thinking – it’s about selling benefits. The best way to do that is to understand as much as you can about a prospect, their problems and needs, and then you will be able to explain to them why, and how you can help.
3. Reducing margins commoditises your product/service
It’s not the most favourable way to bring a new customer on board – offering a discount – but if it means they sign on the dotted line, it is seen as a useful tactic to have up your sleeve.
But more often than not, this will lead to a reduction in your perceived value.
An article from the Harvard Business Review states; “Constant price undercutting can damage brand equity and erode profit margins. Meanwhile, customers develop low expectations and become disengaged.”
Instead of worrying about the organisation that sells the same things you do and using price margins as your only differentiation, make innovation of your service or product a priority, so that you can offer something that customers can’t get anywhere else.
To lead and succeed in the new economy, the best sales techniques have changed, and it is those who realise that who will achieve growth and yield better results overall.
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