In the early days of my work life, one of our sales reps had what he considered to be a foolproof way of prospecting new businesses in town. He believed that each sizable new company worth calling on would contact the local Coca-Cola bottler to secure a vending machine. Therefore, he formed a relationship with the person who scheduled these machines to be installed. Interestingly, he had several schemes like this that worked for a while. However, these outdated sales tactics could no longer sustain him as the town grew and businesses evolved.
“You can’t use an old map to explore a new world.” – Albert Einstein
A lack of training can make you rely on outdated sales tactics
A HubSpot Sales Survey shows that 53% of salespeople rely on their peers or their network for tips to improve their performance. Similarly, 44% trust their manager to show them the ropes. Amazingly, 12% had no resources when it came to training or tips. Perhaps that’s not surprising when the study also states that 46% of salespeople did not intend to go into the sales profession. Women were more likely to be unintentional sellers at 55%. Disturbingly, 59% of salespeople say when they figure out what works for them, they don’t change it.
Respect your selling opportunities
Much of the way in which salespeople operate can lead them to rely on outdated sales tactics and cause inefficiency in the typical sales day. Considering the significant time spent tackling administrative work, salespeople must work to accomplish more during their precious moments in front of prospects. Don’t get me wrong: Writing emails, prospecting leads, entering data, and scheduling meetings are all important tasks. However, the phone or face time with prospects and clients is where you need to maximize your opportunities and leave nothing to chance. Outdated sales tactics have little sway and should be abandoned as you consider new ways of selling.
New sales tactics to consider
We all know the downside of cold calling, the one-size-fits-all pitch and the aggressive strong-arm close. However, you may not realize the quiet strength inherent in simply following through on your commitments. That’s number one on a list of nine sales tactics recommended by Audrey Harris writing for Salesforce. She also stresses the importance of active listening and reading body language. Additionally, she notes the importance of customer referrals that require patience and should be timed with a client’s success with your product. Indeed, the power of relevant quantitative data that your prospect needs can change the course of a difficult negotiation. One tactic I especially like is looping in experts from other departments. This collaborative effort to close the sale demonstrates your concern for your prospect’s business and your willingness to go the extra mile. More importantly, it can separate you from your competition by building a long-term multifaceted relationship.
Step up your individual game with written goals
Hopefully, your company provides tools and guidance to navigate today’s new business environment. Mastering your CRM, networking with professionals and knowing your industry help immensely. However, there is one thing you can do individually that will improve your performance and push your career to new heights. You need to WRITE specific, incremental goals and share them with a colleague. Dominican University published a study comparing results of participants who approached goals under five conditions (groups). These ranged from “thinking about their goals” to “formulating action commitments and sending their goals to a supportive friend”. Not surprisingly, the group that wrote their goals and became publicly accountable to them had the greatest success.
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