The skills, the thinking and the strategies that got us here today will not take us where we want to be tomorrow. Make these 7 changes today and win.
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.
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.
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.
Yesterday, managers were able to tolerate more mediocrity amongst their team.
Today, leaders must transform into coaches and be more fully accountable for their team.
- Get Out Of The Fear Based, Survival Driven Mentality and develop a coaching culture.
- Develop a 30 Day Tactical Turnaround Strategy for Underperformers.
- Do Not Be Seduced By the potential you see in others.
- Relinquish Your Role as The Chief Problem Solver.
- Stop coaching the uncoachable.
- Become less tolerant of mediocrity and underperformers.
- More diligent hiring and recruiting practices as companies cannot afford the cost of a mis-hire, especially with time of the essence.
Yesterday, you could get away with connecting with your key accounts on a less frequent basis.
Today, you must over-respond and over-communicate to the needs of your customers or risk losing them to your competition.
- Many salespeople are hiding under their desk in fear. A perfect opportunity for you to seize more market share.
- Insulate your key accounts/current customers. Less spending = less sales volume = increased competition.
- Become more than a salesperson, become a valuable resource and a trusted advisor.
- This presents a huge opportunity to mine for additional upselling and cross selling opportunities.
- Help them reach their objectives, save money and increase revenue. Their top goals!
- Retention is the new growth strategy? Doubling sales activity? You need a fine balance between being a great hunter as well as a great farmer. More strategic selling.
Yesterday, you could be more lax with your daily activity and do enough just to get buy.
Today, you must refine your daily habits and become a master of your day.
- Many entrepreneurs are willing to do the things they want rather than the things they need to do to drive the growth of their business.
- What are the non-negotiable revenue generating activities they need to engage in every day?
- How are they being held accountable for doing so? That’s were a defined daily routine comes into play.
- Time is your most valuable non negotiable commodity. Invest it in the right activities done the right way.
- You can’t hide anymore.
Yesterday, companies had a larger budget to invest in marketing to drive more leads and prospects to the sales team.
Today, more and more companies are shifting to cold calling to generate new prospects and new leads. These were also many of the same companies who used to be resistant to this concept! This is another learned skill set and strategy that needs to be developed and embraced by your sales team.
Yesterday, salespeople had larger travel and expense accounts to meet with and romance their prospects and clients.
Today, more sales are happening virtually, online and over the phone. This requires learning and adapting to a new way of selling via new communication channels.
Photo Credit: oschene