What makes a successful salesperson? Being attentive? Having good listening skills? An outgoing personality? Being goal-orientated? Or a great negotiator? Being proactive?
All of the above skills contribute to a well-rounded salesperson, but it’s proactivity that sets them apart. But when it comes to selling, what does proactivity really mean?
Proactive selling: An overview
Proactive selling is essentially a sales approach that enables salespeople to take ownership of the sales process, instead of waiting for the prospect to act.
But, to make it successful, it also requires an understanding of what reactive selling is. Reactive selling is a sales approach that is driven by prospect action. The big difference is in the role the salesperson plays in the process. In proactive selling, the salesperson drives the process. In reactive selling, the salesperson guides the process. It’s a significant difference. And both can have merit. Whether it’s a success depends largely on the needs of the customer and what you sell. However, rather than responding to an action, proactive selling is more of a mindset shift.
Proactive salespeople tend to sell solutions to problems the prospect doesn’t even know they have yet. They understand customer pains better. They do more research beforehand. They don’t just respond to an action or enquiry.
As a proactive seller, you drive the pace of the sales process. If that sounds great, here’s how to embrace proactive selling.
Spend time on planning and research
To be a good proactive seller, you need to prep before your sales conversations. Being underprepared simply results in poor conversations. Approach each conversation with a targeted plan and lay out where you want the conversation to go. Being proactive is all about creating situations that lead to a sale, so consider all the factors within your control.
Do more prospecting
Don’t be afraid to initiate conversations with prospects who seem like a good fit. Too many reactive salespeople sit around and wait for opportunities to arise. Proactive sellers find opportunities themselves. Don’t spam prospects, but provide value to them.
As mentioned above, adding value is key to proactive selling success. It results in credibility and trust. And it’s one of the best ways to have proper sales conversations, from the very start. Going back to planning and research, think about how you can help the prospect.
Use data as an ally
Don’t fly blind. Data is an open-source of riches. Use it to inform your sales tactics, prospects, and learnings, as well as view your performance. Be smart with who you contact. For example, proactive sellers might look at their CRM and decide to prospect contacts who have viewed their website’s pricing page.
Ask open-ended questions that bring out pain points
Asking the right questions and then listening is a great skill for all salespeople. But for proactive selling, it’s essential to help guide the conversation. Asking open-ended questions help you better understand the prospect. If you find the prospect answering ‘yes’ or ‘no’, you aren’t asking the right questions.
Be ready for objections
Being proactive means approaching the conversation prepared for any outcome. If an objection comes up, you should be ready to answer it. Even better, anticipate the objection and answer it before it is even raised. Tackle relevant concerns before the prospect can think to raise them. Being proactive means being ahead of the game.
Choosing to be a proactive salesperson empowers you to lead the sales process and create opportunities where there were none before. It separates you from the competition. You are the master of your own destiny.