Plain and simple: people do not want to be “sold.” Instead, they want to “buy,” and they expect salespeople to help them through the buying process, not simply move them along the sales cycle. In the past, vendors and their salespeople were the main – and very often the sole—source of information for the customer. The Internet has permanently altered the market environment and rendered traditional sales processes obsolete.
There’s one thing on every business owner’s mind – increasing revenue. Early in this decade, many companies cut down to the bone to survive the tough economic conditions; now, however, businesses are realizing the inability to continue to “cut to growth.” As companies look to fuel sales, they will not find success in the methods of old. It’s going to take a new outlook on the process of business development to put the “win” back in their sales. Here are five tips for sales mastery:
- Don’t sell. Plain and simple: people do not want to be “sold.” Instead, they want to “buy,” and they expect salespeople to help them through the buying process, not simply move them along the sales cycle. In the last century, salespeople were the main – and very often the sole—source of information for the customer. The Internet has permanently altered the market environment and rendered traditional sales processes obsolete. They don’t need someone to sell them anything. They need someone to help them buy.
- Be EXCELLENT. Salespeople need to be more than good; good or very good is no longer enough to ensure long-term business from a customer. In today’s market, excellence is expected to stand out from the competition. Yet only four percent of salespeople were rated “Excellent” by their customers, according to research by The HR Chally Group. Excellence makes all the difference, which means salespeople need to focus on honing their effectiveness rather than on mastering their knowledge of a product.
- Learn how to earn trust. The only thing that hasn’t changed in sales is that trust between the salesperson and the customer is imperative. What has changed is how salespeople learn how to earn trust. This means helping a potential customer making the right decision, even if that decision is not to hire you. Salespeople should be experts in their industry, knowledgeable about the customer’s business, and able to apply their products and services to improve the customer’s profitability. Truly helping potential customers solve problems, especially when the solution is not necessarily in the salesperson’s immediate best interest, will show them that the salesperson is trustworthy.
- Know why people buy. If a salesperson cannot answer the question, “Why did the buyer purchase the product?” without pointing the finger to the product line, then there is a problem, and they are not selling in an effective manner. Chances are there are a half-dozen or more competitors who are offering identical products or services. So, what made the buyer choose you? Knowing the answers to these questions and having an understanding relationship with clients will aide your company as you grow and continue to master sales tactics.
- Practice. Professional football players are paid millions of dollars per year when the actual time that they perform in a game is 3 hours per week. The rest of that time is spent practicing and training in preparation for the game. No general manager or coach would tolerate a player who refused to practice but just wanted to play on game day. Sales managers and executives need to adapt to this mindset. To reach sales excellence, training, practice and coaching must become a top priority. It must be viewed as a long-term investment that will return a significant multiple of the short- term costs.
In today’s hyper-intense and hyper-active market, Charles Darwin’s rule of “Adapt or die” applies more than ever. Business development professionals must alter their approach to drive long-term business success and truly experience sales mastery.
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