Is Your Team Ready to Sell to Customers Who Don’t Want to Be Sold To?

Read the room people. 

 

We’re back to work, but not like it was before.  It’s different.  We’re different.  We’ve all changed.

COVID has taught us to think about how our actions impact on others.  So now that lockdown restrictions are starting to ease somewhat, instead of doing what we’ve always done we must read the room and adjust.

From a sales perspective, just what does this mean?

First of all, don’t send your teams out to pop in on customers or prospects unannounced…that is, unless you want them to think you’re unthinkingly putting them at risk?   Construction sites, offices, schools….no one can afford more disruption with a case of COVID causing shut downs for deep cleaning – even if only for a couple of days.  It’s simply not good etiquette anymore.  And linking your organization to that?  That’s a hard one to come back from!

And secondly, I’m not sure you got the memo, but people don’t want to be “sold” to.  I could argue that they probably never did, but especially not now. 

How many times do those LinkedIn connections have to connect only for the purposes of telling us all about themselves?  I for one am absolutely fed up!  Stop it!  It’s horrible and makes me wonder if they’re insightless enough to do that, what other errors of judgement are on the cards?

Well okay. 

But our teams still have targets, right?  Yep. 

And they still have customers, right? Yep.

So, how do we navigate all of this and still deliver value to our customers and to our organisations as sales leaders? 

Leaders, can we talk?   Please arm your salespeople with a deeper set of skills.  If your organization wants to climb back from the impact of lockdown, you need to support your salespeople to make the shift from rep to consultant.  And the answer is to develop their capability set.

Add these 3 considerations to your training To-Do list:

 

ONE: Build better Phone skills

Phone prospecting is back thanks to the example I cited in the opening paragraphs.  However, it is NOT telemarketing, nor is it marketing.  It’s planned, thoughtful and targeted. Done well and customers will know they have a caring human being at the end of the line. 

Being able to connect on the phone, and progress opportunity on the phone requires different skills to doing this in person.  We’re not returning to that anytime soon with any level of frequency so shift.  Phone communication is thoughtful when well intended, well planned and well executed.  It saves time, it’s respectful of everyone’s safety. 

Instead of your team spending all day on the road making 4 drop in visits to new prospects, they can speak to 6 new prospects on the phone from the comfort of their own homes in half a day, and book in a face to face meeting in a way that works for the customer – be that a video based meeting or in person.

Just because the technology has been around for a while doesn’t discount it.

 

TWO: Commercial acumen

Not trying to turn salespeople into accountants (LOL), but so they understand how their actions directly impact the company’s performance beyond top line sales growth.  Do they understand cost to serve and what those elements are?  Do they understand margin and its impact on profit (if they did, you may see them rarely discounting), and do they know the criteria to look for to identify a high potential opportunity or client?  Our companies need this.

 

THREE: End to end selling

Some salespeople love winning new opportunity.  Others love growing accounts.  Companies now must look for ways to reduce cost of selling.  More will require salespeople who can do it all: target new opportunity, prospect, nurture, win it, retain it and grow it. 

But not just the mavericks.  They need salespeople willing to utilize systems, tools and approaches to do more with less: win more share of wallet, convert more customers faster and doing it in such an engaging way that their customers feel part of the solution.  Agility.

 

 

The “right” salesperson who will fix all of your revenue issues singlehandedly with little input from you is a unicorn.  Find good people and develop them. The great news is you as their leader actually don’t have to be the best salesperson to be the best leader. 

But more of that later….

 

 

View our other posts

9 restorative ways to tackle the confidence crisis

Salespeople...heck, any one of us, loses our mojo every now and then.    It’s part of the human condition. While it can signify introspection which is important as we make meaning and hopefully build greater self-awareness it can also signal a more permanent...

Quantity or quality?

Once upon a time in a land far far away sales managers everywhere were perplexed by the dichotomy they faced: sales teams who were hitting targets by having high activity rates at the expense of poor customer experience or leaving opportunity on the table.  Their...

Have you reached your limit yet?

Many of us have.  There is so much going on right now, it feels like “The Quickening” with life taking on a roller coaster type quality and speed....without the good thrills though.    If the last 2 years wasn’t enough for us, the torrential rain and floods in...

Curiosity is king

When we think of being curious, it’s easy to link that with questions...discovery.  But did you know that curiosity also dissolves tension, and ensures that an already fraught situation is more easily neutralised?  As a relationship building tool – customers,...

Inner strength

This morning I heard someone say that extreme self-reliance is actually a trauma response that prevents us asking for help.  It’s linked to early life trauma that tells the sufferer that asking anyone else for anything is dangerous: emotionally, physically,...

Purpose led teams

When it comes to elevating sales performance, it’s understandable why organisations look to the most cost-efficient methods that will deliver the greatest bang for buck.     Most organisations opt for initiatives like: Identifying new customer groups that...

Make 2022 Your Year

Regardless of what happens “out there”, 2022 is in your hands.    Success or failure.  Lessons or a loop.  Growth or stagnation.  Joy or suffering. Hit or miss.  It’s the way we approach the year that will make all of the difference, because when we’re aligned to...

Embracing Change

There’s a meme going around social media about 2022...something about this year being like the boyfriend who lets you down but you keep taking back because they promise to change?   I admit I had a bit of a chuckle to myself, not only because I’ve been there, but...

Take Time to Recharge

Well it’s been quite the 2 years, hasn’t it?    For many Australians, they’re more than eager for a decent break....a time to recuperate mentally, emotionally, physically even spiritually.  The toll of lockdowns, constant disruption to routines, home schooling...

Be the light that others run to

My cousin said this in our weekly Zoom chat.  She was referring to a friend who was that for her.    When we’re in the midst of darkness, we need direction.  We need a light to run to, don’t we?   Light of the soul, of the spirit.   Are we opening...