The marketing landscape is rapidly changing, and it’s important your sales approach changes with it. Here are five ways you can improve your sales process.
Salespeople are working with information overload, time-famine and a rapidly-changing marketing landscape, and having to become more strategic about the way they position themselves and their products.
This often means being proactive, agile and keeping on top of past, present, and future trends. However, with so much going on, it can often be easier just to switch off and go into autopilot or ‘default mode’.
Here Shari Levitin, trainer, speaker and author of Heart and Sell, explores what that means for salespeople and how you can overcome it.
Recognizing ‘default mode’
In this case, ‘default’ or ‘autopilot mode’ refers to habits and biases you may have picked up on the job — either from your own experiences or the people around you. Often, they come out when we fall into routine — telling the same stories, pitching the same products, offering the same deals — without really paying attention to what we’re doing or who we’re talking to.
While ‘winging’ your pitch might seem like the answer, it can often be just as harmful as if you’d recited a generic, well-rehearsed spiel to all of your customers. Both cases allow you to easily switch to autopilot, potentially causing you to:
- Give the customer too much information
- Attempt to sell products that aren’t relevant to your customer
- Make your offer sound ‘too good to be true’
- Leave out key decision makers, and
- Look for what’s wrong with your customers instead of focusing on what’s right
Now you know what ‘default mode’ looks like, what can you do to combat it?
- Know your audience: It’s no secret that personalisation has become a key element in marketing. Just like consumers don’t want to feel like they’re ‘just an email address’, your customers don’t want to feel like they’re ‘just a phone number’.
Understanding your client and their industry and anticipating their individual needs will help you tailor your pitch, drive sales, and increase customer engagement and loyalty.
- Know your product: Further to that, knowing your product and company inside and out will prevent you from ‘over-selling’ it, helping you generate trust and personal credibility.
It is also important to keep a close eye on the market and industries to ensure your products and presentation are still relevant to your customers.
- Nail your presentation: With detailed knowledge of your potential customer and your product under your belt, you might feel ready to just ‘wing’ your pitch. However, laying out your presentation beforehand will help you stay on topic, and give you the opportunity to address anything you may have missed so that you’ll be prepared for any questions or hiccups that may come up.
- Ask for feedback: While nothing beats knowledge gained from experience, it’s important to remember that what has worked previously, may not work in the future. Getting regular feedback will help you understand what behaviours are working well and ways you can improve, giving you an opportunity to master your skills.
- Take responsibility: According to research conducted by David Mayer and Herbert M. Greenberg, good salespeople have a need to conquer. This particular type of ego drive gives us the ability to claim greatness, to say, “I’m going to be number one, get promoted to CEO one day, and buy an island.”
However, not every sales pitch goes according to plan and you may be turned down because of a customer’s lack of budget, indecision, or having been offered a better deal.
While it’s easy to accept these explanations as the prerogative of the client or the fault of your competitor, taking the opportunity to analyse your pitch can help give you an advantage for future proposals.
Try asking yourself these questions after each pitch:
- Did I show them enough value?
- Was the problem I was trying to solve really big enough to warrant the purchase?
- How could I make a stronger connection with all of the stakeholders?
- What else could I have done to build their trust?
- What are my competitors doing and how can I differentiate my offering?
Finally, remember that getting out of your day-to-day sales routine and being actively engaged with your colleagues, customers, products and pitches can help you realise your financial goals, strengthen client relationships, and let your business flourish.
For more insights about how you can improve your sales process, check out our e-book 5 Secrets of the Most Productive Salespeople.