While the signs of sales underachievement are obvious and endless, the root causes are usually very specific.
A quick check-up:
- Are your prospects constantly asking for more time “to think it over?”
- Are your salespeople reluctant and/or ill prepared to discuss price?
- Does you sales team settle for low closing rates and low average sale?
- Do they respond to objections way too often with a discounted price?
- Do they find it difficult to differentiate on anything but price?
- Do your salespeople take rejection personally and let it affect their performance?
- Do you often hear excuses like “the market is down, the economy is bad, my manager doesn’t help me, the leads are bad?”
- Do your salespeople still rely on the long list of outdated, manipulative closing techniques that customers detest?
If you answered “YES” to five or more of these questions, chances are you have a sales process problem and you’re probably leaving a lot of dollars on the table.
When was the last time you audited your sales process? Things like observing a real call, listening to a call recording or observing scenarios and role plays, not just relying on what you think is going on.
What sales process/system is your team using?
When you look, here are three things you might find:
- The Buyer’s System: Customers have a buying process. They’ve learned through many encounters with salespeople that there are certain behaviors that “protect” them from manipulative salespeople. They often play close to the vest, mislead, fish for free consulting and adopt an adversarial posture thinking that revealing too much will only be used against them.
- The old-style features and benefits pitch: most salespeople selling today have been trained in the traditional features/benefits pitch. They rely mostly on presentation skills. These systems can and do work to a degree, but they’re no longer as effective as they used to be. These manipulative techniques have added to the adversarial attitude exhibited by many customers. Sellers using this technique often lose control of the process and revert to the buyer’s system.
“Most salespeople today use techniques that were popular before the advent of jet airplanes.”
-David Sandler, Sales Guru, The Sandler System
- Today’s successful sellers are experts at conducting a sales conversation, a buyer-seller dialogue. The new sales process is question based. It involves making a connection, building rapport, asking the right questions, actively listening to the answers, determining what’s relevant to the customer and showing them a pathway that will solve their problem.
“One undeniable fact cannot be discounted or overlooked. As you advance through the sales/buying process, the most consistent predictor of outcome, more than any other variable, is the emotional experience of your customer. The tangible attributes of your product or service are less important to the customer’s motivation to buy than the emotional experience.”
-Jeb Blount, speaker, author, sales guru
But some say: “Our customers are different. This new sales process may work at other companies, but not with our customers. They only care about price.”
Is your product always the low-price leader in your industry? Most businesses don’t aspire to that rather low distinction. If low price was the only reason for purchase, how is your company still in business? And if it’s really only the lowest price, why do they need a salesperson? They should just put the product on-line and let customers click and buy.
How do you create a sales edge?
The new modern buying process requires a mind-set change for salespeople. An honest, non-manipulative exchange of information, not a recitation of features and benefits. Not a data dump.
Prospects often don a “mental suit of armor” before they have an encounter with a salesperson. From experience, they believe they need protection from the manipulative, high-pressure tactics they are about to encounter.
A successful sales conversation helps to remove the armor by creating a feeling of trust and transparency. “Stop acting like a salesperson. We’re in this together.”
The Wizard of Ads Employee Optimization and Sales Rx group can help. Our superpower is helping small business owners audit their sales process to find just where the dollars are being left of the table.
Reach out, get in touch to start the process. Denniscollins@wizardofads.com
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