The Time to Change How We Prospect & Sell is NOW
My Top 10 Sales Predictions…
Prediction 1 – Traditional selling is no longer as effective
Businesses and sales professionals, who are still only using traditional methods of selling, will struggle to generate prospects and sales.
Why? – How the modern day buyer makes a decision to buy has changed. This is largely due to two things:
- Firstly – Due to a lot of businesses downsizing, to save on costs and increase profits, employees – your decision makers, now have to multi task– making time their most precious commodity. This affects their ability to concentrate, read sales and marketing materials and to have a sales meeting with sales people.
- Secondly, with the acceleration of the internet and today’s prospects being way too busy– they prefer to do their research online first before investing their precious time on sales calls or in sales meetings.
- In fact, in a recent research report, I discovered that the modern day buyer will complete up to 57% of the buying process online, before even seeing a sales person or taking a sales call. They already know their needs, their budgets and know your competitors offerings inside out, before deciding to see you or take a sales call.
Prediction 2- The days of relationship selling are over
- Customers are more demanding than ever before and they are intolerant of products, and services and sales people that don’t demonstrate and prove that they can add value.
- Remember time is their most precious commodity. They already know their needs and know what they want, and busy people do not want to deal with sales people that they have to bring up to speed
- Sales professionals need to be invaluable to their customers – let them know you understand their industry, their challenges, tell them who else you are doing work with in their industry and demonstrate results. Don’t try to be their friend until you prove your business worth first and don’t use ‘old school’ traditional selling techniques such as uncovering needs and presenting a solution to them – They are way to sales savvy for this sales approach today.
- The modern day buyer only wants to work with sales people who are trusted advisers. When you prove that you can be a trusted adviser, then you can focus on building a long and lasting relationship.
Prediction 3 – Feature and Benefit selling is ‘old school selling’
- Creating value for clients is getting more complex than ever before and features and benefit selling is no longer appropriate for today’s modern day buyer. Especially as most of them know what they want, and have researched all of the features and benefits of your product or service, before even giving you the opportunity to sell to them!
- ‘Show me’ and ‘Prove it to me’ selling will dominate, as today’s sales savvy buyers, are a lot more weary of benefit claims made by sales people and there is increasingly more choice available in the market.
Prediction 4 – ‘Buyer Centric’ messaging is key
- Sales organisations and businesses will need to completely revamp their sales message on all of their sales and marketing collateral – if their sales message is still sales centric and product or service focused – instead their message will need to be more buyers centric.
- They will also need to use a combination of written, video and audio to spread their sales message, and provide demonstrations of their product and services in action to prove the value and results gained by using them.
Prediction 5 – Winning competitive business will get tougher
- It’s going to get a lot tougher to win competitive business! Even if you know your product or service is better than your competitors, and even if customers are unhappy with your competitor’s solution.
- It is easier to stay, than change, as there simply isn’t enough time to make the change.
- Can you still displace competitors? Yes, however you need to keep your proposal as simple and non complex as possible, as if it takes a lot of time to implement or change they simply won’t change.
Prediction 6 – Sales organisations and businesses will begin to understand the value of personal branding
- Sales organisations and businesses will begin to understand the value of personal branding and why their sales people need to build a trusted personal brand online.
- Remember we live in the information age and customers are checking out your company, your products, your services, your sales peoples online profile, your customers testimonials and reviews, before even considering having a meeting with you.
Prediction 7 – How we communicate with customers and when we engage with customers will also change
- As our customers preferred methods of communication is evolving, and how they buy is evolving – how sales people communicate and engage with buyers will also change.
- Will you still need telephone calls and face to face meetings…yes. However, this happens a lot later in the sales process and you will need to engage with customers online first, before even getting the opportunity to engage with customer’s offline.
- Sales people and businesses who also learn how to leverage live online communication, whether it’s video, through go-to-meeting, a webinar, Skype or any number of live communication methods available today – will have a distinct advantage.
Prediction 8 – The focus of sales training will shift to training sales people to become trusted advisers and experts in their customers business
- Instead of training sales people on becoming experts in your products or services, or how to sell, the focus will change to training sales people on how to understand your customers, issues related to them, their buying process, the challenges they face, the bottle necks in their decision making process and their business objectives – sales people will need to become an expert in your customers, not in your product or services
- Sales people who master how and why their customers buy, instead of simply selling their ‘stuff’, will succeed.
Prediction 9 – Sales organisations and businesses will need to think very strategically about their lead generation campaigns and implement a Multi Media Lead Generation Strategy
- The strategies needed to stay ahead of the lead generation curve are going to get more complicated.
- Last years strategies of picking up the phone and getting your message out via email marketing are no longer as effective. Today, you need to use multi media platforms and if you want to play – you need to play in multiple fields…email, video, SMS, events, and direct mail is back, as email open rates take a huge dip !!!
- The one thing you definitely need to have in your lead generation strategy, is a strategy that means you don’t have to go looking customers – let customers find you by ensuring you have a credible and trusted online presence, as when customers come to you- instead of you going to them, it is much more powerful and much more inline with how the modern day buyer prefers to buy!
Prediction 10 – Sales automation will continue to grow
- Sales automation will continue to grow as more and more businesses and sales organisations understand the importance of having multiple steps in place to convert suspects into prospects, and prospects into customers, which effectively takes your customers through your sales funnel, until they are ready to engage with your sales people offline.
- Businesses and sales organisations will also begin to understand that by using an automated system, they can build a loyal following, cultivate a buying audience online, and consistently communicate the value and results that prospects get by working with them.
There are already signs that some of these predictions are happening in today’s market, and it’s only a matter of time before the rest of them happen, so the time to change how you prospect and sell in NOW.
The time to discover and implement, The New Rules for Selling, in your business is NOW
To discuss how we can help you to create The New Rules for Selling specifically for your business please call Fiona Challis on 01189 767658