In their 2018 buyer preferences study, CSO Insights found that salespeople ranked ninth out of the top ten ways buyers prefer to solve their business problems. “Vendor salespeople” placed below websites, peers, social networking groups, and web searches. In fact, only 23 percent of buyers named salespeople as one of their top three resources.
This makes sense, as the internet and the availability of information has empowered buyers to perform a massive amount of research on their own, which has reduced their dependence on salespeople for knowledge. CSO Insights also found that 72 percent of buyers wait until they’ve defined their needs and nearly half wait until they’ve identified a solution they want before they reach out to a representative. This places sales reps in an incredibly difficult decision, as it reduces their ability to influence buyer decisions.
It gets worse… when it came time to interact with sales reps and their respective companies, only 32 percent of buyers saw one vendor that outshined the rest, meaning there’s not much differentiation between sales experiences.
Naturally, you want to be the one salesperson who stands out, the one who buyers want and look forward to working with. If you’re the one, you stand the chance to garner referrals and grow your business in multiples. So, what do you need to do to be the salesperson prospects actually want to talk to?
Buyers, like most consumers, have become accustomed to tailor-made recommendations every time they arrive on a website. They are so used to this treatment, that they can become frustrated when they don’t receive a similar experience in their business purchasing process. You have the ability to emulate this in various ways, improving your impression on prospects and enticing them to speak with you.
Prospects don’t want to educate you on their industry, business, company and typical challenges. They want you to know and understand who they are and what they do ahead of time. So take the time to familiarize yourself with this type of information before speaking with prospects, take it another step doing research about your contact as well. Look at their social media accounts and search for them in the news. While you’re at it, don’t forget to review information concerning the prospect’s prior interactions with your company such as site visits, whitepaper downloads or calls with other reps.
This allows you to make a warmer connection with your buyers and build a better sense of where they are in their buying process. It also gives them the seamless buying experience they desire and they’ll be thankful when you don’t waste their time requesting background before asking intelligent qualifying questions. The more information you have, the more you’ll be able to sell empathetically with a true understanding of their situation.
To attract prospects you need to be skilled at interacting with them through various channels, including email, social media, video, phone, text, and voicemail. Effective communication is as much about what you say as it is about how you say it, so your message needs to be clear, succinct and compelling to keep them engaged. Prospects want to feel like time spent communicating with you is time well spent.
Don’t forget to listen either. Prospects want to be heard. Otherwise, they feel like you’re only interested in selling them, not helping them. Having these strong communication skills will provide prospects with a worthwhile interaction. Plus, you’ll be effectively demonstrating the value of your solution in terms of their needs and requirements.
According to the CSO study, buyers often feel like all your efforts are expended before they sign on the dotted line and then you disappear. Don’t forget to follow through after they become customers. Check in with them periodically, even via email. It goes a long way and makes them feel more satisfied with their decision to do business with you. Plus, this could help increase retention rates as well. Remember, happy customers are more likely to refer you to other potential buyers, continuing the growth of your company.
Armed with a deep understanding of your prospect and effective communications skills, you’re in a position to offer them new perspectives and potentially influence their final course of action. You’ll have the context to frame new insights in terms of their current situation and desired goals. This is what they really want from you – value and information they aren’t able to find online.
When you’re able to do all these things you’ll be able to efficiently guide buyers to their desired destination. They’ll recognize this and actually want to work with you.