Today, customers are more sophisticated than ever, and they expect more for their time and
money. They want solutions that fit their specific business needs; providers that meet those
needs are the ones that break out of the trap of selling exclusively on cost. Not to mention that because customers have Google at their fingertips, they can research your competitors with a click. Today this means that customers are nearly 70% of the way through the decision-making process before they ever speak to sales.
As a result of this, your company's sales approach may not be producing the results it once did. Think about it. Has your sales team garnering less-than-stellar results lately? Are you losing more customers that your company used to? It more than likely has something to do with the fact that your sales approach has fallen behind the quickly-evolving expectations of your customers.
With that in mind, if you are inspired and prepared to revamp the sales approach at your company, start with these three changes.
1. Make An Effort to Understand Your Customers
With today’s savvy customers, people are looking for customized solutions that directly address the challenges they are facing. Sales teams stuck in the past assume that demonstrating in-depth product knowledge is enough to establish authority and score a sale with prospects. In reality, knowing your product, service, and solution inside out is the “cost of entry” for successful sales professionals.
Today, a customer-centric approach to selling is what really sets winning sales teams apart. Does your sales approach start with a deep dive into your potential customer? Consider having your team develop customer profiles that highlight the problems facing the customer’s company and the customer’s industry as a whole—and develop this customer “roadmap” before your first sales meeting with the prospect. Doing so will allow your sales team to better anticipate a prospect’s needs, questions, and objections during a sales meeting, and the prospect will most certainly take note of your sales team’s impressive expertise.
2. Listen More, Present Less
Traditional sales pitches have become a thing of the past. With customers expecting more from any company's product and service, as well as a superior customer experience, you need to look at the “presentation” portion of your sales process, and evaluate if it needs an overhaul.
Start by asking yourself, “Who’s talking more: yours truly or the prospect?” If it’s you, chances are, you’re losing out on sales. Customers want their concerns to be heard—which can’t happen if your voice is dominating the sales meeting. Instead of a traditional pitch or a PowerPoint presentation, your sales team needs to approach the sales meeting as more of an interview:
- Ask your prospect lots of questions that dig deep into their perceived needs
- Be sure to play back what you heard in a way that shows you “got it”
- Ask yourself if, based on your experience and offering, if their stated need is in fact their real need
- Wow your prospect by revealing what their real needs actually are since many prospects aren’t always familiar with the root problem like you are
A confident sales person can capitalize on using previous customer data and case studies, research on the prospect, and probing questions that cut to the heart of a prospect’s pain points, they frame the product or service as the ultimate solution to a prospect’s real and perceived needs.
3. Lead With Value
Perhaps the number-one indicator that a company’s sales approach needs revisiting, is they’re still selling on price. Treating your product or service as a commodity, rather than a solution chock-full of value, is the fastest way to turn off customers today. A study by Bain & Company found that increasing customer complexity—ushered in by rapid technology and market changes—has resulted in customers searching for sophisticated solutions to their problems. Customers crave services that are tailored specifically to them—and they’re willing to pay for them.
If you’ve been selling on price, it’s time to rethink your company's sales approach. Encourage your sales team to think of the sales call or meeting itself as a chance to provide value to the prospect, instead of just a chance to introduce your product or service. Point out problems that the prospect may have been unaware of and pinpoint opportunities that the prospect can easily maximize. When the members of your sales team act more like consultants, instead of salespeople, they build trust with prospects, demonstrate what kind of value they bring to the table, and establish authority—making sales far easier.