Sales Trends: The New Norm
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Sales Trends: The New Norm
by: Drew Stevens
Undoubtedly the end of the recession and the beginning of the New Year create
times of change. Many fear change because of the fear of the unknown and an
alteration from their comfort zone. Change needs to be embraced.
Selling will be one of those areas of change and deservedly so. Selling has been
slow to alter for several reasons:
- Personnel – the good times prior to the recession focused less on people and
more on process.
- Leadership – there are so many theories on selling many do not know whom to
follow or trust.
- Training – many believe that training is the best method to alter selling
patterns but have found little return on investment.
- Customers – many selling professionals and managers believe that customers
buying patterns have not changed.
With over 28 years in my field I find there are tremendous alterations in buying
patterns, customer behaviors and selling processes. When I began selling we
attempted sales with visual words or on site demonstrations. Today some customer
conversations are conducted over the Internet and demonstrations are arranged
with apps and cloud computing.
Customers do not want or need to be sold. In fact they know more about your
business, your industry and your company then ever before. If they want it they
will connect with you. Customers are smarter and more connected than ever. That
said, the key differentiator is the service, support and systems you provided to
engage clients. Here are some things to consider:
- Cold Calling – Dump it. It is very discouraging to see how many people
believe this rote methodology still works. In the age of caller ID, the number
of gatekeepers and simply busyness- people are too busy. Cold calling is a
disruption. It wastes time. Name one millionaire representative that did so cold
- Customer Response – I wish I had a dollar for every selling professional that
kept promises to contact me on specific dates and times. I have a return call
policy of 90 minutes, yet I am amazed when it takes days or weeks for sales
representatives to return my call. Return calls when promised.
- Customer Service – There is research that illustrates that over fifty percent
of customer interaction is service related. Treat your customers correctly by
becoming engaged. I am reminded of Aaron who was attempting to sell copiers and
got the prospect’s name incorrect four times in the same conversation. Be in the
- Selling versus building relationships – Social networking groups are besieged
with conversation about “selling to the c suite”. Not only is it interesting to
discover so many self proclaimed experts but more ironic to view the opinions on
how to sell to senior executives. Herein is the best advice. Senior Executives
do not want to be sold anything. They desire healthy conversations that build
relationships with trusted peers. Senior officers know what they need and when
they need it. Stop listening to unhealthy advice.
- C2C – With the high levels of connectivity customers are more interested
today in hearing from other customers. People buy from those they know and
trust. Individuals desire customer-centered relationships. Build your community
with case studies, testimonials and audio/video snippets that illustrates
results from other customers.
- Customer Communication – Technology is not the answer to everything. You must
be constantly top of mind so avoid activities that diminish relationships.
Rather pick up a telephone or send a simple handwritten gratuity card.
Illustrate your value not the need to make commission.
- Customer Discretion – Customers are no longer in a hurry. Credit concerns,
economic volatility and shareholder return are more important than ever. In
addition, the use of the Internet enables customers the necessary time to
conduct the proper research before making decisions. A recent client researched
John’s firm for over six months. They conducted research and sought council from
former clients then signed a six-figure order. If you’re patient they will come.
© 2011. Drew J Stevens PhD. All rights reserved.
Drew Stevens Ph.D. President of
Stevens Consulting Group is
one of those very rare
sales management and business development experts with not only 28 years of
true sales experience but advanced degrees in sales productivity. Not many can
make such as claim. Drew works with sales managers and their direct reports to
create more customer centric relationships that dramatically drive new revenues
and new clients. He is the author of
Split Second Selling and the founder and coordinator of the
Sales Leadership Program at Saint
Louis University. Contact him today at 877-391-6821.
Published here on: 06-Mar-11