I hope by know, we’re all painfully aware of the costly lesson this economy has taught us. The skills, the thinking and the strategies that got us here today will not take us where we want to be tomorrow. And these uncertain times have highlighted more than ever, how we have collapsed American Entitlement with the American Dream.
The simple truth is, in order to earn more we need to learn more, especially as it relates to selling, retaining your current customers and leveraging new selling opportunities.
Here’s what I’ve observed over the last six months, how the current marketplace has impacted the way we sell and connect with our prospects and clients. Granted, some of these trends have been going on for a while now. However, these last six months have put more and more companies at this crossroad, face to face with this critical decision: adapt, innovate and change or suffer from corporate inefficiency, rigidity and declining profits. Upgrade your sales and leadership strategy to respond to these times. Here’s how.
1. Yesterday, it was more of a transactional sale. You show up and take an order or worse, you wing your presentation.
Today, you need to redefine your selling strategy and become a consultative sales champion in order to survive and thrive.
• If you’ve only gotten into sales over the last few years, you’ve never sold in tough times. More than ever salespeople need the training and coaching to stay on top.
• Benchmark best practices. What are the stages of the sale you need to move your prospect through?
• Leverage technology to manage your pipeline.
• Focus on key targeted accounts through better qualification and discovery process. (More and better questions.) Research each customer and know their business.
• Order takers don’t always have the strongest relationships. More time must be spent fostering stronger relationships with key clients. This doesn’t mean calling to ‘check in’ but have a better set of timely questions that will help you understand how the current economic times have affected the way they do business and make purchasing decisions.
• Become keenly aware of the lifetime value of every customer using better defined metrics.
• Doubling sales productivity isn’t always the answer. Consider by doing so, you’re also cutting the time you have to invest in your key accounts, in half.
2. Yesterday, you can sell features and benefits.
Today, you must reinvent your M.V. P. (Most Valuable Proposition) and develop core compelling reasons which will then move your product or service from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘need to have.’
• Less discretionary spending and tighter budgets means less allocation of funds for anything other than what is necessary. “Nice to have’s” Are being cut out of budget. You must position your product as a need to have.
• Saying you’re the best isn’t good enough. You do so by being clear with your value proposition and a faster R.O.I.
• You must focus on the cost of not making changes/ the pain of no change/keeping things the same vs. selling the warm and fuzzy benefits.
• Fewer selling opportunities increased competition = customers demanding more value for less money.