There is no doubt in the minds of some of the sales teams I’ve work with that the recession has made people meaner….not personally, but definitely professionally.
The complaint is that buyers are pushing harder for discounts, competitors are dropping prices and buying business, buyers are only buying on cost and not considering the product/service and the benefits it can bring to their business.
My response to that is simple…maybe your view is correct, maybe it isn’t, but either way if you perceive it to be so then that will be your guiding reality…instead, how about we forget the recession and think of today’s trading conditions as being those of the new economy…..
This is not always received in the spirit it is intended, and that is understandable….I am challenging a sales persons view of the market, his/her place in it, and often the foundations of why they feel they are not delivering the sales figures that they should.
The real challenge is that if this is the way the buying professionals are taking us then, rightly or wrongly, if we wish to stay in business then we should respond positively to it.
Very simple really, we should respond positively to it because our astute competitors will be spending more time coming to terms and devising ways to overcome this perceived reality than they will be spending time moaning about it.
If we assume that all buyers will behave this way – then they will. It is a universal truth that we get the clients we deserve.
And lastly, we should respond positively to this because it should encourage us to raise our game in the sales arena. Unfortunately it’s a fairly low ball game in many instances so upping the ante is not rocket science, time-consuming or a long-term process.
‘Respond Positively’ What does this mean?
- Really understand what you are selling, and I mean REALLY understand. Understand the applications, the benefits, the features, the potential it brings within a business and the payback period. Many products and services no longer have a genuine USP…and so it is the role of the sales person, the company, the brand, the testimonials etc to be the USP. Maybe the USP is the process in many instances.
- Turn your back on hit and run sales – make the generic visit, deliver the generic same old, same old pitch, send the generic proposal, do the generic follow-up call, fill in the generic paperwork….treat all prospects as the same…would you want to be involved or get excited about this process? No…me neither. Instead, take an interest, get excited, do your research, be happy to be sat in front of someone who is giving you 30 minutes out of their day, be curious, be direct, be honest, be challenging, demonstrate value where you can or walk away, be ethical, show them how other people are using your products and services, have a long list of people who can confirm how great you are and how fab your product is….be the difference…
- Demonstrate ROI…and this is important. Not because it is the thing that clinches the deal…but because it is the thing that so few sales guys are prepared to do…because it may leave their pitch exposed, because they are too lazy, or they have no idea what ROI demonstration means….
- I have already mentioned ‘be ethical’ and that is vital…be totally up front an honest about what your product and service can deliver…and that should be stated upfront to the prospect….it is perfectly acceptable to say something like…’I hope today that I am able to demonstrate how this product/service will add to your business and I hope also to be able to provide a demonstrable ROI for you…If I do that, then I hope we can progress our meeting further, if for whatever reason I am unable to do that then at least you know the reality associated with progressing your interest in this product…is that ok?
Believe me – having that as the first bookend of your sales pitch, makes the close very easy. Handling price objections is rarely needed…
Take this advice or continue to trade in your perceived reality….the choice is yours….the outcome may not be.
Carol Griffiths – Lead Consultant and Director
Morton Kyle Limited
0779 002 1885