Monthly Archives: February 2021

Thinking of taking up some hard selling techniques? Think again

If you are as old as me you might remember Cameron Crowe’s 1996 film, Jerry Maguire, depicting the life a sport agent operating in a high pressure sales environment in LA. As part of their effort to get themselves into an invincible sales mindset, they use the famous words, ‘Show me the money,’ repeatedly. If you have ever worked in a high pressure sales environment yourself, you might remember other techniques used to get the team selling: a pint at lunch, take away pizzas and league tables are some of my memories.

Think what you like of these techniques, most high pressure sales environments belong to the past and were much more popular in the 80s and 90s. That does not mean that holding up a sales job has become easier but many companies have changed their approach. This is mainly due to the fact that the way businesses like to purchase has changed in the past 30 years. A few key changes to mention are:

  1. The internet allows people to shop around and research more easily. Most buyers prefer to get the information they need, download product features or run a software trial before they speak to your sales team.
  2. Centralised budgets, tendering and outsourcing of procurement to professional consultancies, has become commonplace to help quality and cost management.
  3. Many senior people hold very busy jobs and have less time to spare. They are therefore less likely to agree to meetings that do not carry clear value to their organisation.

To adjust to this, many companies have adopted a consultative approach which aims to understand and solve clients’ problems and add value to the organisation. Some of the new lead generation approaches taken up by companies include inbound marketing tactics such as:

  • Providing useful information through articles, blogs and e-books
  • Creating digital funnels based on users’ needs
  • Offering free webinars and workshops to develop interest

It is apparent that nowadays, many companies aspire to developing a helpful and knowledgeable reputation as opposed to hard-nosed sales tactics and lengthy contracts. This is all very well; I am a big fan of consultative selling and we use many of the above techniques ourselves. But what happens when the economy downturns and new sales are harder to come by? In my experience, some companies will pile pressure on their sales team to get in the revenue in any way they can. We may also see more sales professionals lose their job due to a lack of sales.

If you are a business owner or a senior manager looking at this situation and feeling unsure of the best next step, I would recommend that you stick to your guns and keep going with your plan and approach. That does not mean that you do not make any changes or respond to feedback but essentially, try to avoid making decisions out of panic and fear. Here are a few things to consider:

  • If prospects are not making a decision, there is a reason for it. Rather than getting frustrated with your sales people or ditching them, try to get to the bottom of it and see how you can adapt your approach to support this.
  • Jumping from one product to the other, or stopping and starting lead generation campaigns will only set you back. Marketing communication needs time to take hold, out bound lead generation needs a build up to be successful so be patient.
  • Silver bullets are for Westerns. To get the best value out of your sales and marketing, you should listen to the feedback from the market, make small changes and make the most out of every lead you uncover.
  • Having a clear sales process which is adopted across the team is essential to ensure that you keep up quality and conversion. Take our conversion test here to see how good your current process is and make changes if you need to.

In summary, remember that patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude whilst waiting. At YBDT we can help you build a pipeline and then ensure you convert a higher percentage of it. Click here for more information.

Why selling takes time and effort?

On a cold February morning in the middle of another lockdown planning how to improve your sales can seem like all too much effort. If you are thinking “well this worked when we did it before”, and before was 2019 then it likely will be wasted effort.

Doing more of “the same old same old” in 2021 is not very practical. Walking into your customer’s office with a smile and a firm handshake just isn’t happening. Unimaginative selling had been slowly dying long before the Pandemic, but now we all need to think more clearly about how we sell, and most importantly what our customer thinks of our interactions with them.

“How you sell matters. What your process is matters. But how your customers feel when they engage with you matters more.” – Tiffani Bova

Innovation in your lead generation and nurturing is important. Now more than ever. With the world now firmly online, there is the temptation to rely on a few social media posts to do your lead generation for you. Your competitors probably think the same, but my experience shows that contacting customers directly raises you above the background noise of the Internet. Going offline to engage with your potential customers can positively influence their view of your company. One of my team was sent a drinks coaster by a supplier, a simple gesture but it showed that when so many companies have gone quiet and are just hoping for it all to be over soon, his supplier is still there ready and able to do business.

So, why does selling take time and effort? Because your customers are worth it. Taking the time to build a relationship with a new contact, understanding their business and what they need from you is a key piece in building the jigsaw puzzle of a sale. When much of their contact comes from instant sales pitches on LinkedIn, or they haven’t heard from a supplier in months, being contacted by a company that is interested and actively seeking to work with them will encourage them to look seriously at your offer and ultimately to buy from you.

A stat I have used on our website comes from Wanda Allan; “80% of sales are made between the 5th and 12th contact yet, 90% of sales people make 3 contacts or less”. Your Business Development Team offer dedicated support to your sales team. Lead generation can be time consuming and your skilled salespeople’s time is usually best spent on the later stages of the sales process where their knowledge of your products and services matters most. That leaves the crucial area in the middle, nurturing those leads to the point that they are ready to buy. Remember Wanda’s stat. It isn’t your sales team’s fault that they only have time to make three calls rather than five or twelve. They are doubtless stretched in lots of directions having to keep existing customer happy, while also prospecting for new business. Your Business Development Team can fill in that gap between the lead and the sale.

For more information how Your Business Development Team will work with you to generate and nurture the leads that are vital to your business’s recovery visit our Lead Nurturing page, and get in touch to talk amore about our service.