March 22, 2018
How do you respond to salespeople who tell you their product is "absolutely free?" Do you believe them, or do you head for the exit door? How about salespeople who ask for your trust before they've given you any particular reason to trust them? Does it arouse your interest, or your suspicion?
Not All Sales Approaches Are Created Equal
Spoiler alert: some salespeople are a lot more successful than others. The best salespeople know who their customers are, what they want, and what objections they're likely to raise. The worst overpromise, intimidate and condescend to the targets of their unwanted attention. According to Hubspot1, the lion's share of sales reps are in the second category:
- 67% of salespeople regularly miss their sales quotas
- More than half of salespeople have sales close rates of 40% or less
- About 40% of salespeople don't grasp the concept of customer pain
- Almost half of salespeople don't use any sort of sales playbook
What Is It the Best Salespeople Know?
The simple fact is that it's relatively easy to spot a good salesperson. They're the ones who don't approach you until you're thinking about making a purchase. They listen more than they talk. They don't make hyperbolic promises, promises they probably can't keep, and they don't try to bully you into buying something you don't want.
According to American Express2, the best salespeople know things that those who are poor or merely mediocre don't, including the following 5:
- They know when you're ready to buy: ever deal with a pesky telemarketer trying to sell you something in which you have zero interest? The reason some sales reps know where you are in the buyer's journey is that they take the time to prioritize their leads. In other words, they do their homework, maybe by using a sophisticated lead scoring system. By weeding out weak prospects, the best salespeople dramatically increase the odds of closing more sales.
- They know what you want: successful salespeople dive deep into their customer data (perhaps using CRM software) to know what each prospect is interested in long before they make that first contact. Perhaps they know, for example, that a lead has downloaded specific content, or visited certain product pages on their websites, or that they fit the demographics of people who typically buy their products. Because they know who their prospective clients are, they can better engage them, inspire trust and sell them products and services.
- They establish rapport: good salespeople understand that when the first contact prospects, those prospects are strangers, strangers who are likely to be a bit suspicious of their motives. For this reason, they don't launch into a sales pitch right out of the gate. They take the time to establish rapport, perhaps by first asking, "Is this a good time for you to talk?" First impressions are critically important to sales success, and the best sales people know how to establish trust before they start talking about their products and services.
- They don't overpromise: strong salespeople understand that consumers these days are savvier than they used to be, and increasingly skeptical about sales messaging. Todays consumers can quickly spot the old bait and switch, or the red flags of hyperbolic promises intended to hoodwink unwary customers. The best salespeople talk about their products and services in a straightforward, reasonable way to establish credibility.
- They listen and reflect customer concerns: when prospective customers express concerns or objections, ineffective salespeople tend to push back, in some cases implying that the customer is ill-informed or not especially thoughtful. If for example, a prospect says, "OK, it's a good refrigerator, but I don't think I can afford it," the bad salesperson might respond, "Our refrigerators are some of the most affordable on the market!" The best salespeople know how to say, "That's a good point, and you're right—it is a big decision—but we can offer you a discount, and we have several, affordable financing plans. Can we talk about those options?"
Selling is all about knowing who your prospective customers are and putting their interests ahead of your own. The best salespeople know how to speak with prospects respectfully, and they care about those customers getting what they pay for, so they'll make subsequent purchases and tell friends and family members about the great experience they had. Said differently, the best salespeople think of sales as a win-win scenario, and that satisfied customers are their best advertisement.
Of course, effective sales training can help. To learn more about the ways our continuing education training services will foster your employees' professional growth—and help you grow your business—contact us today.
1. HubSpot: 10 Surprising Stats About Sales Rep Performanc
2. American Express: 8 Tricks of the World's Best Salespeople