Where will sales be in 10 years?
It’s a punchy question that deserves some serious thought and of course I don’t know the answer, I just have an opinion.
My opinion is based upon a very simple fact though and it is simply relationships.
As we know, developing leads and building sales is a tough task and we’re no longer limited to the phone. We have to try to create inbound enquiries, make the most of referrals and word of mouth, whilst ensuring that we are making ourselves known everywhere there is potential business.
The fact is though that people like to be sold to well and yet they hate being sold to badly. There really isn’t a middle ground here because that just makes you blend and become instantly forgettable. This problem is that this issue is only going to get worse as the B2B market becomes more and more competitive.
So what does it mean to sell well?
Consumer direct sales including cold calling for things like PPI and all the rest really don’t help. In fact they set a tone within sales that makes life difficult.
We’ve all had the calls and latterly the recorded messages that are a result of bulk campaigns and whilst they are horrendous they do produce leads with consumers. However the same rules of engagement most definitely do not work in B2B so we have to think and behave differently in order to stand out.
Everything begins with the quality of the relationship. Whenever you call, email or InMail a prospect they know you are selling to them so why follow the typical sales pattern and say predictable things that make everyone feel dissatisfied by the engagement.
My team are hired on the basis that they have the right experience but critically because they have a good heart and can communicate in a natural and non-salesy way. I have met and trained hundreds of sales people, account managers and sales leaders that find it really hard to break out of corporate speak.
You have to look at your culture, your philosophy and how you want your business to come across.
Great sales in the spoken and written word always tend to avoid the predictable. You have to disarm your prospect by not falling into the traps they expect you to.
You have to be straight, open and honest with people about what you’re trying to achieve and not wrap your approach up in some bull**** over-the-top rapport building exercise. I’m not saying rapport isn’t important but it is crucial that you get to know the difference between rapport and a relationship.
So where will we be in ten years?
If you’re still ‘selling’ you’ll get lost but if you’re focusing on relationships, a human touch and a balance of rational and emotional thinking you’ll be there and winning.