Considering the dynamic environment we operate in salespeople can be a nightmare for sticking to tried and tested processes that they’ve used for years. So when did you last change or adapt your overall sales approach?
The theories around consultative selling have been with us for decades, and there is no doubt they are proven and effective when implemented well. But the world has changed dramatically, and in many markets simply being consultative is no longer enough. At Sales Engine we’ve been kicking around a number of new sales theories and approaches over the last few months and debating what is different now to, say, ten years ago.
Our conclusion of one of the big changes? The availability of information and, most crucially, how well educated and prepared your prospect is before you ever meet them. Allow us to elaborate…
Back in the halcyon days of the nineties and noughties the salesperson controlled the key information concerning their company, their product and their services, and so they could dictate when and how this information was disclosed for maximum impact during a meeting.
Scroll forward ten years and the prospect arrives at a first sales meeting armed with information about the company, the product set and even the background of the salesperson before they have set foot in the door. Thanks to company websites, LinkedIn and helpful third party opinion sites like Gartner the prospect no longer relies on salespeople to bring them information on how to solve their issues.
So what is the role of the salesperson now? If you’re not bringing information, then what are you there to do?
Quite simply the new era places greater reliance on the ability of the salesperson to add value, provide insight and to challenge the conclusions that the prospect may have already come to before meeting any suppliers.
So now is the time to consider whether your approach needs a re-think. If you have a complex sale and are still running your sales meetings roughly the way you did ten years then take another look at your sales structure to see if you are just questioning to uncover needs, or probing and adding genuine insight.
But this needs to go deeper than just your meeting structure. If you are more challenging and insightful than in years gone by, has your toolkit of collateral kept pace? If your presentations and proposals are the same structure as they were five years ago (you know, all about the company, your products and your services) then you won’t be having the impact you hope.
We’ve all (hopefully) got some well-earned downtime coming in the next few weeks. So why not use some of that thinking time to look at your meeting structure, your presentations and your proposals to see if you really are adding value or just repeating information the prospect will have already got from other sources.
And if you’d like to get an outsiders unbiased opinion of how your sales collateral stacks up in this new era, then don’t be shy and drop us a line as we’d love to help.