Rather than doggedly asking for the business, the very best sales people work to keep the relationship moving towards a sale. They realise the need to identify how to turn their company's products into real solutions, which must meet specific needs.
Unfortunately, our surveys confirm that the average salesperson drags the customer over old ground as much as 52% of the time - they are unable to provide continuous stimulation and never know when to treat an existing customer like a new one.
Conversely, exceptional salespeople only make such 'return calls' for 10% of the time. Above all, earning the right to proceed requires gaining the customer's trust - top salespeople work diligently to establish a climate in which the customer is willing to share information and feels comfortable doing so. The key here is integrity.
Customers are persuaded when they are part of the process - and not part of the audience.
Sales success today demands a radical shift from the 'peddler' mentality of merely demonstrating products and expanding on their features. It requires treating the customer as a participant. More often than not, a 'flashy' sales presentation alone alienates, rather than persuades.
The best salespeople regard the sales call as a two-way conversation - not a one sided pitch. They have developed active listening skills.
Average salespeople score fairly well in their ability to provide customers with facts and figures, but top performers dramatically outscore the rest when it comes to gathering information. In addition, how a salesperson collects information still distinguishes exceptional achievers from the rest of the pack - i.e. Top performers ask better questions and, as a result, gain much better information. Essentially, they aim to engage customers in the buying process with questions that require thoughtful answers, that stimulate curiosity and that reveal the customers underlying needs.
Businesses need to redefine selling and what constitutes basic selling skills.
In today's world of selling, there is less and less room for apprenticeship. Selling has become an exclusive club of highly skilled professionals, where product knowledge and time management skills, for instance, are the cost of membership, not leadership.
Ongoing research demonstrates that today's 'average' salesperson is just as effective as the high performer in explaining features and benefits effectively, relating a service or product to customer needs and closing a sale. But, above this Level 1 plateau of competence, the exceptional salesperson is busy defining the "basic skills of tomorrow"
The exceptional salesperson understands that the right to do business has to be continually earned, and never, ever assumed!