With just 29% of salespeople hitting target in Q4 last year, and only 40% predicted to hit target this year, there is no doubt that sales is tougher than ever. Every sales KPI is going in the wrong direction. But across the globe, the top salespeople are able to ride out whatever the economic climate throws at them. They flourish no matter what. These top sales performers are doing something very different from the rest – but what?
At Flume, we specialise in sales excellence. We analyse the behaviours and skills that underlie the success of top sales professionals. We understand what makes them different and can identify the barriers preventing most sales teams from realising their full potential.
Common Mistakes in Sales
Hard Sell = Hard buy
The relentless pursuit of targets often leads salespeople to overlook the buyer’s needs, making it difficult for the buyer to see the value in their offering. These sales pitfalls include:
- Unfocused Outreach: A scattergun approach results in generic, self-serving communication that fails to engage buyers.
- Rushing the Pitch: The pressure to meet targets can push salespeople to prematurely present their pitch, often misaligned with the buyer’s needs.
- Overloading Options: Salespeople inundate clients with too many choices, making the buying decision daunting and risky.
- Neglecting Buyer’s Journey: Leaving the buyer to navigate the decision-making process alone elongates sales cycles and increases the risk of sales paralysis.
What top sales performers do differently
Easy buy = Easy sell
Top sales performers follow a different path, they immerse themselves in the buyer’s perspective, focusing on enhancing every customer’s experience. Their approach includes:
- Personalisation: Puts themselves in the buyer’s shoes and tailors approaches
- Education: Learns and teaches about blind-spots and best practice
- De-risking: Proactively anticipates buying barriers and increases confidence in the purchase.
Using our Connect, Change, Choose, Champion model, here are 4 ways this plays out in the buying cycle.
CONNECT: RAISING THE PERSONAL VALUE OF ENGAGING NOW SALESPERSON:
- Uses multitouch and multichannel introductions, positioning the urgent value to the prospect of engaging now.
- Deeply tailors each customer engagement to their buyer’s world and uses language that resonates.
- Purposefully builds trust and networks with prospects and customers through social channels.
CHANGE: AGREEING A COMPELLING CASE TO SHIFT FROM THE STATUS-QUO SALESPERSON:
- Uses structured questioning to coach the buyer to prioritise an urgent reason for change.
- Proactively uses meaningful insights to create a valuable two-way conversation and disrupt buyer beliefs.
- Proactively uses stories about end users and best practice to help guide buyers and engage on an emotional level.
CHOOSE: BUILDING ALIGNMENT AND CONFIDENCE IN THE BRAND AND RECOMMENDATION
- Positions the brand and recommends a justified solution perfectly in line with the buyers’ priorities.
- Assertively anticipates, pre-empts, and handles objections through strong listening, logical insights and emotional storytelling.
- Takes control of the negotiation, structuring the conversation to create a climate of trust and focus the buyer on value.
CHAMPION: COLLABORATING WITH YOUR BUYER TO BUILD CONSENSUS, DRIVE CHANGE AND OVERCOME INDECISION SALESPERSON:
- Helps clients understand and navigate their decision-making-process to drive change and build consensus.
- Creates proposals which speak to the entire decision-making group, teaching them why they need to change and how to choose.
- Presents with charisma and gravitas to increase the impact of their recommendations.
To delve deeper into how top sales professionals excel where others falter, you can also download our complimentary Sales Excellence Benchmark whitepaper.