Today’s consumers are savvy and have access to a ton of information including all that information about your competitors! Being a salesperson in today’s global market place is very different than back in the days of Glen Gary Glen Ross – and the famed ABC of Sales (Always Be Closing). Today, business owners and their sales teams must be digitally and socially savvy and be far more aware of not only attracting new business but retaining the clients they already have.
It’s no secret: when customers feel taken care of they are more inclined to buy from you again AND are far less likely to even think of going to a competitor. In fact, people rarely leave or switch brands due to price, unless that item is truly a commodity.
Since studies have shown that it costs 6 to 7 times more to acquire a new customer than keep an old one, outpacing your competition depends upon having a loyal tribe of happy customers. It just makes sense. So, what you do you when your sales team OR customer service team is struggling to nurture existing clients and attract new ones? Try some of these tips.
Asking and Listening Skills: In order to sell anything, you need to identify WHAT a customer really needs. Remember, people buy for only two reasons: Avoid pain or gain pleasure. Regardless of the situation, trying to “sell something” that your customer doesn’t want or need, is fruitless and could alienate them. Ask questions, dig a bit deeper and then stop…Listen. Offer solutions that fit what THEY are looking for.
Don’t JUST sell a solution. If a customer already knows what they want and how to get it, why do they need a salesperson? Don’t sell yourself short! Here’s where insight selling comes in. By asking the questions mentioned above, your sales team can uncover other issues that the customer might not have realized – and that’s how you upsell! Something the client never thought of, yet you are still bringing them value! Win-Win!
Build Trust. We aren’t talking team building and warm fuzzy retreats – but people will buy from you when they TRUST you. Before that happens, they need to get to know you, then like you – once they’ve done those two things then Trust is the next logical step. ONLY when this happens will you be able to close the deal. Also – when you have a true Trust relationship, price is rarely the point.
Track, track, track. If your company isn’t tracking sales metrics, then we have a problem. Your sales team should be rating prospects based on how likely they are to buy, and prioritizing based on those assumptions. If Sally is focused on a bunch of accounts that only have a 15% opportunity to close – that’s a huge waste of her time and lost sales elsewhere. Same goes for existing clients – segment clients based on buying habits and potential to refer you business. You want to nurture all of them, but you can market and sell to your current clients based on their potential for future sales.
Hire the right people. Some people just can’t sell – and that’s OK, it’s not for everyone. But you should be looking for the right people to put on your sales team to help meet your goals. Most sales leaders consider hiring and retaining the right talent as challenging as ensuring a consistent pipeline of quality leads. If you are struggling with retention of good sales people, you are more than likely lacking a good sales process or hiring the wrong folks – both are a recipe for disaster. Bringing in a business coach to help you determine WHO is a good fit, is a step in the right direction.
Celebrate and reward success. When your sales team has a big win – celebrate it. There’s nothing worse than making a big sale and having a boss or owner ask, “what’s next in the hopper?” Acknowledge when the team does a good job. It goes a long way for morale. PS – Great sales people have some pretty common characteristics: Driven, ego-centric, outgoing, and are inherent risk takers. More often than not, they love to see their names in print, on plaques and are all about the awards and accolades.
Are you implementing these sales best practices? What other best practices are key to your sales team?
Margret K. Warner
Vice President, Commercial Lender
Director of Business Services