Are you or your business involved in selling? If so, read on. How many times have you heard someone say ‘there's nothing new in selling’? In this age of digital interaction and social media, everything is new in selling! Numerous research articles have been published about the type of salesperson that is now most successful. The interesting thing is that what much of this research points to is a common factor. The common factor is adding value. We’ve all heard that before, but how can that be achieved? It's achieved through a number of steps which do not include pricing, how to close or overcome objections. Every selling program on the planet teaches salespeople how to overcome objections and close – yet time and again the most fundamental aspect to selling is overlooked – trust and integrity.
How can you build trust, integrity and add value?
- Know your purpose and that of your business – this is very different from your sales objectives.
- Believe in your product or service, your company and most importantly yourself.
- Use the right sort of questions to deeply understand your customer. Don’t ask a question if you haven’t considered what the possible answers are.
- Using high levels of interaction skills and emotional intelligence are critical in building integrity and trust with customers.
You may have read that “Relationship Selling” is no longer the way forward. If that is the case, why does all research point to relationships being vital? It may be that we need to examine the definition.
By relationship, are you thinking about inviting your customer to the corporate box for ‘the big game’, or having a round of golf or some other ‘social’ event? Or does a relationship in business terms mean having mutual respect, trust and acceptance of each other’s expertise? Of course when we consider how we connect with customers, we should be looking at the latter.
By the time most customers are ready to buy, they’ve spent a lot of time checking their options online. 21st century selling requires sales people to engage with, and inform their customers. They should not spend time ‘telling’ customers how good their product or service might be. Customers have already done their homework on the web! The salesperson needs to add value. How? Look at the list above!
So, if you have a vested interest in sales and how to succeed at selling, ask yourself these questions:
- How much training do we give our salespeople on 'self-management'? (Emotional management for when things are tough – resetting beliefs about selling and customer perceptions)
- Do our customer-facing people (or for that matter all people in the business) truly understand their purpose, how important that is and how that differs from objective?
- Does your sales training provide your people with the ability to identify behavioural preferences of customers? And what skills are provided that enable them to accurately respond to the different customer preferences?
- How do we train our sales people to engage in conversation that appeals to the customer and not necessarily to the salesperson?
- What steps are taken in developing the skill of post-sales service & networking?
You might notice there's nothing written here about product, competition, technical ability or any of the more traditional things associated with selling. That's because they are less important. People buy from people, not from a technical brochure or because the sales person knows how to knock the competition – or knows so much about the product that they could write a book about it!
By changing the emphasis in selling, you can alter the dynamic of the sale from product to customer focus. This means spending more time showing sales people how to engage customers; spending more time developing a sound set of beliefs, the skills of interaction and networking; and tailoring existing sales skills to use customer focused techniques. This then translates into more emphasis on the customer pre and post the actual sale. Less time spent on product knowledge (whilst not being ignorant about it) means more time addressing the overall needs of the customer.
Still think there’s nothing new in selling?
If you'd like assistance re-aligning your salesforce to the new age, please contact us.