Haven’t You Changed Yet? 3 Things Sales People Must Do Now
You know it’s true.
You know that when a prospect calls, fills out a web form or pings you with an email these days that they have already and absolutely done research about you, your products and your company. Like a lot of research.
I’ve read a dozen studies that say most folks are 50% to 75% through the sales process by the time they get to you, the live breathing sales rep.
Well that stinks. It’s sure not like the old days.
Remember the days when prospects or clients needed you to tell them all about your company, the products, the pricing and the options? Yeah, I do. It was like the early 2000’s was the last time that was real life. But now there is the internet, the websites, the blogs, the reviews and all that good stuff. What do the prospects need you for? (Answer: to confirm pricing, terms and other such mundane stuff it seems).
But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are three things you should be doing all the time now dear sales person, before and during that time when that phone rings, that load leads or that email arrives.
- Differentiation is Your Lead Story: If the prospect is contacting you – they already have a need; so ease up on hitting the needs discovery so hard up front for criminy sakes. Instead, focus on differentiation and do it presumptively. An old colleague of mine taught me the critical question sales must always answer for prospects; “Why with all the competitive alternatives available to me, should I buy from you?” OK – you know that is important but you need do this presumptively without being asked. “Yes, it runs around $60 a month and what makes that unique versus others that may offer the service is….” Or “My guess is you’ve looked hard at options here, one thing to consider unusual but awesome about how our products delivers is…..” Your job with differentiation as your lead story is to snap the prospect out of price or terms shopping – that’s where they think they are when they call you – and that is what you must change.
- Teach Existing Customers Something New Every Single Day: Some of the best sales reps in the world don’t like the leads they get today. They really don’t. The leads they get today as I’ve said are often folks who have so much research available to them that by the time they contact you – you’re just a talking head sometimes confirming stuff they already know. The best sales people create their own leads. They educate and teach before the need arises or do so in such a way that they create the need and therefore are front and center playing the role of a human (and way more engaging) source of research and information than the web. And they teach about new products and services for sure but in such a way that they are problems solvers and industry challenge averters and hurdles faced but that help to succeed. Maybe you’re in the lead generation business in your role, maybe you are in the closing end of it too. It makes no difference – teach, teach, and then teach some more.
- Be a Story Teller: You know what doesn’t work all that well on the web? Customer Testimonials. They really don’t. No offense to any of the talented marketing folks who nurture, create and publish testimonials. Some are effective for sure; some are even emotionally moving videos about using a product. But by and large, the quotes, the blurbs and the statements supporting the products and services on a website or brochure are let’s be honest, not always believed to be credible to the prospect. But a story told by a real sales person like you who had a real interaction with a real customer who better yet, looks a lot like the prospect you are talking to; A story told well that way – now that has influence! Get good at telling stories. You all have them. You have those real success stories with real customers. (Bonus tip; Fit your story into the Hero model for greatest impact; 1) the customer who feared/resisted change or was down on their luck 2) took the leap of faith 3) ran into some unexpected challenges 4) recommitted to the effort 5) achieved mastery and had awesome results!). Story telling was never part of anyone’s sales training class – that I can assure you; but it darn well should be now!
Times change. Technology changes. Buying processes change. Make sure you are too.
Till next time,
Grow The Business.