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….

 

 

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