51% of Americans over the age of 12 have a profile on Facebook. 25% of social network users say that Facebook influences most of their buying decisions. The world is changing, are you keeping up?
I bring this up because I see so many Sales Executives we work with trying to influence clients the old way. PowerPoint and your presentation should be CEMENTING the client’s decision not trying to OPEN up the discussion. The fundamental shift comes from the influence of social media on how people think and yes, it is impacting business decision-making in a large scale way. It is not your product that sells them often, it is what they see and hear others are doing with your product.
The average client has already researched the internet BEFORE calling you about your product or service. What they are looking for is a connection to them that speaks to their problem, challenge and proof that others like them have found your solution the best.
So here are some key things you need to think about:
90% of all corporate training for sales people is on product knowledge but your client buys based on their feeling and trust of the sales person. That trust doesn’t come from knowledge they share about your product but on their ability to truly hear what the client needs and then tie what they say to those needs. The truly great sales people hear what has never been said.
2. Are your PowerPoints about “this is who we are, this is what we do/have and this is how it can help you?”
If they are, you are behind the times. You are still trying to influence clients by showing them how you stand out. The reality is they need to FEEL you are the best choice. This happens today because they feel you are the one who “gets” them and their needs. So you need to reverse your presentations so they speak to them first, you second.
3. Are your sales people trained on how to listen as well as speak?
As you can see, listening has become crucial. Time is compressed and you often only have one shot at making things happen. So how you listen becomes important because it determines what you hear. If you think on the defense you will often hear, a great buying question, as a product challenge question. This leads you to shutting down the conversation rather than opening it up.
To Do versus To Think
1. Go through all your training and look at how much time you dedicate to teaching the thinking necessary to have deep thoughtful and robust conversations with clients. You should spend over half your training teaching this as the only real tool brought in to every meeting is your brain.
Who We Are Versus What I Know About You
2. Review your PowerPoint presentations. Take a highlighter and highlight everything that is about you, your product, your company or your team. Only 20-30% should be about you, the rest should be about the client.
As a Sales Leader it becomes very easy to teach the “how to do” versus teaching the “how to think.” When that happens though you become an indispensable part of the buying process which ultimately makes you a clog in growth. If you find right now that you spend most of your time going on calls, handling negotiations and conversations because you aren’t sure your sales people can think on their feet, then the above steps can be very liberating for you. Imagine what you would do if you had 25% more time for strategic thinking and planning- what would you do?
Make the quick changes above to start on your path to freedom.