People do not like to “be sold to.” Ask anyone and they will confirm that being sold to makes them feel unwanted. It conjures up images of smarmy men in ugly plaid pants trying to sell you a lemon of a car. Or one of those late-night do-it-yourself television commercials with a man yelling and gesturing wildly, as though that makes what he has to say more true.
When devising a sales process for your organization, there are several components to consider. First, are you selling to your target audience? And are they interested? Too frequently we begin to sell before implementing appropriate lead generation processes that will ensure sales happen more quickly and easily.
Do you have a good way to track your prospects? If so, are you communicating with them providing more in-depth information about your product or service? Do you have the right sales processes for the types of selling you do – B2B or B2C? Business to business sales requires a thorough understanding of the various stakeholders. Are you familiar with who inside the company will have a say in the purchase?
Most importantly, are you using authentic selling practices, or trying to mimic something you read in a book or saw in a lecture?
Challenge the Norm: Authentic selling is the only way to engage with the sophisticated buyers of today. Unlike the years before the internet, anyone involved in the purchase of a product or service now performs extensive due diligence via a simple Google search. Before you even speak to a potential buyer, he or she is armed with information, good and bad, about your industry, your product or service, and what they can expect.
The best practices of authentic selling will equip your sales team with everything they need to effectively close deals (assuming you have implemented a lead generation strategy that is working). There are only a few details you need to really understand to sell authentically, including:
- Learn to be of service – engage with your prospect to understand his or her real needs. Stop trying to figure out how to get them to buy. Understand the pain points and how you can solve them.
- Engage in active listening – this is a major component of authentic selling. Good active listening skills will help you get to the root of your prospect’s issue. Plus, doing so makes him feel like you care – another important aspect of authentic selling.
- Know your buying funnel – in the B2B space this is crucial. Who are the stakeholders? What are their individual challenges? How do you speak to these? Typically there will be a financial person in the mix, so while you are engaged in developing information all about the great features and benefits of your product make sure you include ROI. Otherwise, you are not speaking the language of every person in the buying funnel.
At the end of the day, ensuring your sales team chooses to serve your prospects will go the farthest in building an authentic selling process. Today’s customer is much savvier and will not fall for sales tricks. They simply wish to give their business to a company that listens and understands their needs. Be that company, and your sales will happen much easier.