Advancements in cloud, social and mobile technology have changed the way people buy, and, therefore the way salespeople sell. This change is like Superman being relocated to a new planet where his powers are no longer valid but he has other latent powers he hasn’t yet discovered.
The same goes for sales in this marketplace. Technology has enabled prospects to sometimes have more product knowledge or product user information than salespeople. This makes the sales powers that salespeople once used obsolete and requires salespeople to develop new sales powers. Traditional sales techniques can be like kryptonite to prospects’ buying processes in this new sales reality.
What can salespeople do? Embrace the change and shift your sales behaviors to match the situation. There will be some unlearning to do but there are some basic principles that will help you in this new sales environment. Just as with any sport, it’s the subtle details that make the difference to performance. It’s the subtle changes to your sales approach that can make a huge difference to your sales results.
1. Update Your Definition of Selling
This may seem like a menial thing but definition generally drives behavior. For example, if your definition of selling is to twist arms to slam-dunk a close, your actions would be very different than if your definition of sales is about helping prospects. You can see where I’m going here.
The latest research clearly indicates that buying is about decision making. And decision making involves not only the logical part of the brain but also the emotional part. Actually, the research states that we are more emotional buyers than we probably would care to admit — we truly buy on emotion justified by logic.
With the mountain of neurological research behind it, try on this updated definition of selling: selling is about helping others with their buying decisions, emotionally and logically. How might that influence the sales powers you employ?
How do you engage prospects emotionally? One way is with your sales questions.
2. Polish Your Sales Questions
Your sales questions are your sales conversation navigation. When selling in the new marketplace, traditional sales techniques often backfire, causing salespeople to lose sales. Instead, use the power of questions to steer your sales conversations.
Using your updated definition of sales, leverage your sales questions to discover your prospects’:
Discovery process of your product
Problem that is driving their buying decision
Buying decision process
One indicator of whether or not you have asked enough sales questions is your prospects’ level of engagement. Remember the neurological research: we buy emotionally and logically. Be on alert that they are engaged both ways.
Another indicator of whether or not you have asked enough sales questions is you know which product will provide your prospects with the solution they want and need. This is when you are ready for the next step in the conversation where you will further engage them in your product.
3. Engage Your Prospects Neurologically
One of the most effective ways to engage your prospects neurologically in their buying decision is to better leverage … wait for it… (The answer is simple but don’t let its simplicity take away from its power.) You neurologically engage your prospects when you share true client success stories.
The key is to ensure your client success stories are relevant to your prospects’ buying decisions. You do this by matching your stories to the problems they share when they answer your sales questions. Generally, you’ll just share one story per product you sell.
And, to ensure your stories engage your prospects emotionally and logically, include the problem the client had and the results your product provided (as you know, prospects often buy for the results they get) when you share your stories.
These 3 principles will help you earn more sales from the prospects you connect with. Yet, many salespeople want to know how to prospect to gain more clients. Research suggests social technology shares some pretty powerful means to increase your sales.
4. Become a Social Superhero
A recent headline in Forbes provides a compelling argument for salespeople to embrace social media as one of their major prospecting tools. The headline?
“Study: 78% of Salespeople Using Social Media Outsell Their Peers.”
Today, LinkedIn is the social media portal of choice for professional business people. It’s a great opportunity to connect with prospects if you clearly demonstrate that you subscribe to the sales definition of helping others with their buying decisions. Just a reminder, the emphasis in social media is about helping others.
Consider how you can use principles 1, 2 and 3 above in your LinkedIn profile. For example, you might ask yourself questions such as:
What can I do to improve my profile to better engage prospects emotionally?
What can I do to provide prospects with logical information to justify their buying decision?
Which clients might I ask for a recommendation? (LinkedIn’s form of true client success story sharing)
Once your profile works for the new sales reality, prospect by reaching out to people specifically in your target audience. LinkedIn can be a great means to initiate relationships for collaboration that can later lead to greater sales. It’s a prospecting tool to lead to sales, not a sales tool to result in immediate sales. With this perspective, you’ll do well on LinkedIn.
Armed with these 4 new sales principles, you can become a super salesperson in today’s marketplace. Move over, Superman.
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