Though selling has evolved from bartering for resources to exchanging currency for products and services, the fact remains that salespeoples’ approach to selling hasn’t necessarily evolved with it. This is especially true when a strategy has worked time and time again.
However, as times change, so do customers. Being open to adopting new methods to capture potential customers and retain current ones helps ensure that a salesperson is able to foster long-term business relationships. To help salespeople embrace varying selling practices, 16 Forbes Business Council members each share one piece of advice for the “modern salesperson.”
The art of selling is not about the product or service you are selling. It is about the person’s ability to be empathic with customers by understanding their needs and offering solutions for those needs as well as consistently turning every “no” into an opportunity to improve the selling points. Business is made by people, so a buying decision can still be influenced by emotions. – Magda Paslaru, THE RAINBOWIDEA
Build a personal rapport with potential customers first before trying to sell them on your product or service. Ask them about their business and the problems they are looking to solve while also positioning yourself as a resource. The sales part will develop naturally after you develop trust and a deeper understanding of their needs. – Meighan Newhouse, Inspirant Group
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Selling now is about relationship building and how you can be of value to the customer for a lifetime. You should picture yourself as a subscription service—if customers no longer have a need for you or your service, they will discontinue your offering for the next big thing that is tailored to suit their needs. However, if you remain of value, they will remain subscribed. – Tian Derose, EAMA Inc.
Focus less on “traditional selling” and more on telling an emotional story based on the reality of people’s journeys, the project or product and its future prospect and impact on your ultimate buyer. In a time when everyone has a scheme to sell, only human stories that connect to the soul of your buyer will be successful. – Markus Kreth, Asia Media Publishing Group
The advice I think is best is knowing your audience and knowing the product or service you are selling. Be an active listener by hearing what your client is really saying and adjusting your “pitch” to meet the needs of the client. Also, always follow through. – Amy Hitchinson, The Ivy Academy of Early Learning, Inc.
You must commit to being a subject matter expert, not just a promoter or influencer. To become a salesperson, you need to be a big fan of what you represent, but today, you must also become acquainted with your product in more technical ways. Clients will test you on your attention to detail and your knowledge beyond the use of the product or service holistically. – Dr. V Francis John, ZtartUp.com
Before people buy from you, they need to trust you. Focus on educating the consumer and answering their questions. Establish yourself as a trusted source of information first, especially if you operate in a complex space that many consumers are unfamiliar with. If you can provide people with insight and helpful information, they will return to your brand when they are ready to buy. – Sean Hall, Medlab Clinical
One of the biggest changes happening in sales is that customers are using several different channels. This means that the salesperson needs to be present and reachable in the channel customers find the most attractive. This varies to include emails and phone messages, as well as social media channels and online or offline events. You need to be present where your target customer is. – Aslak de Silva, Selfly Store
The “modern salesperson” should be digitally savvy and show an awareness of the digital buying habits and the digital journey of the customers. They should be able to make an assessment of how the potential customer behaves at each stage of the buying funnel and have a strategy for engaging this customer so that they choose to take interest in the product, service or solution. – Anup Batra, Arrow Digital
Build your company’s search engine optimization, or SEO. If consumers can’t find you with a simple web search, they are likely going to find your competitors. The easier you make it, the more organic the inbound traffic will be. SEO isn’t as much of a black box as most people think; it primarily requires hard work writing useful, crawlable content and acquiring backlinks to it. – Tyler Weitzman, Speechify
Psychology matters. The disconnect between marketing, sales and buyers is typically in how people think and communicate. How we think drives how we behave and make decisions. We now have tools to predict the mindset and behavior of our sales professionals and their prospects. Consider being prescriptive about how you marry the message and offer, and even try to assign the salesperson based on how your buyer thinks. – Karrie Sullivan, Culminate Strategy Group
In my opinion, the most successful salespeople are those who spend time truly listening to prospective clients. If you identify how you can solve their concerns or meet their needs in a meaningful way, the sale will take care of itself. Remember, it’s not actually about you or your company but about your client. Serve as a consultant and partner and you’ll see the difference in your results. – Eileen Valois, Go West Creative
Selling is nothing more than being frank about what you have that may be valuable. It’s important to address the pros and cons of your product or service so that every customer is acquired with integrity and in possession of realistic expectations. If you’re the best but pricey, say it. “We’re the best, but it’s hard to be the best at a low cost, so we’re also the most expensive.” – Leelila Strogov, AtomicMind
Clients and prospects are often worried about the changing world around them. Policy changes, changing customer preferences, climate change and other macroeconomic shifts can threaten our ability to predict reliable revenues and make confident decisions. The “modern salesperson” needs to understand the client’s emotional journey and inspire them to put trust in you during difficult times. – Shashi Menon, EcoEngineers
Clients want to know the real you and they want to feel they can trust you to help solve their business problems. Fortunately it’s easier today than ever before to show your clients that you understand their business, want the best outcome for them and are the right person to help them. Leverage outlets like social media platforms and write relevant content to show (not tell) your clients. – Sabrina Shafer, Transformation Continuum
The three T’s of trust, technology and trying are the key to being a “modern salesperson.” Build trust so customers can see the positive benefits of the product or service, and use technology to showcase data to back up your argument because everyone must bring data to the table. Finally, try good old consistent persuasion as it will always pay off in the long run even in today’s impatient modern world. – Amit Basu, Artisan Furniture
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