Not being successful in making sales? Try being a sales leader!
Customers have more options than ever! Every day they are bombarded with some new product information. Plus, continued advertising from the existing products. Result: there is a blur of marketplace. With so much to see and listen too, customers have started to generalize things.
Just like products and services, there are far too many salespeople trying to catch the attention of the customers. With every product/service claiming for a (more or less) same set of USPs, there is not much difference in the sales pitch. Result: Salespeople are not being able to bring anything new to the board.
Such a scenario has posed a big challenge for the companies. Standing apart from the crowd and not getting categorized with others has become the real key. But how is this possible?
Sales expert Mark Hunter has emphasized upon the role of leadership. In his opinion, majority of sales reps follow the herd policy. Paraphrasing his words – Following a tried and tested rule is the easiest thing to do. And this is precisely what sales people also do. What they fail to realize is - When they agree to follow, it means they agree to be seen as a commodity and be subject to the limits of being a follower.
Do not agree with the above-mentioned point? Read below to understand it yourself:
What is one of the most basic things followed by most sales reps? Answer – give a lot of options to the customers. So if the customer is not buying product A, pitch in product B or gives a combination of product A and B. It doesn’t end here – there is an additional product C and D which also comes into the picture later.
What is the logic behind doing this: to give as many combinations and permutations so that customer chooses at least one of it and hurray – deal close!
This is what sales reps are taught to do and most of them blindly follow. But then – does this sales approach actually generate result?
Mark states a brief encounter:
In one of the sales call I noticed recently, the sales rep put forth numerous options in front of the customer. Result: the customer got overwhelmed with the high amount of information to be processed in. The natural defense mechanism of slowing down kicked in. The customer got confused and was unable to make the decision in the first call. Inevitably the sale got delayed.
Lesson learnt: Following the run-of-the-mill strategy is not always the path to success. Sales tactics should be kept dynamic i.e. modifying them as per the demand of the situation.
For instance, presenting the lead with few options might seem closing the pitch early. However, limiting the options on seeing that the customer might get confused is a wise decision. After all; presenting more options than what the customers can process can only make them confused.
How should sales reps bring leadership into their work?
Being ‘’different’’ is the first step of bringing leadership into work. However, Mark warns that ‘’difference’’ here should be understood as being a freak of nature in all occasions.
In actual sense, it’s about being strategic than tactical; not adhering to a process followed through years, but framing something new in the sales pitch. And most importantly to look beyond the selling benefits and focus instead on outcomes.
Is sales leadership only limited to customer interaction?
The answer is No.
According to Mike, bringing a change in the approach towards customers/leads is half job done. For truly becoming sales leaders, the change needs to be implemented in the entire functioning. In fact, Mark emphasizes upon not only transforming the frontline sales reps but the entire sales team. The objective should be to make a sales leadership team instead of a sales management team.
As he states – ‘’ If the goal is not to be seen as some other commodity in the market place, then not only the frontline salesperson, but the entire team should be sales leaders. A sales leadership team will be more focused on the customer benefiting outcome rather than simply going through the motions of connecting dots in closing a deal.’’
What is the difference between a sales leader and manager?
Sales management and sales leadership model have an ideology difference. For instance – sales managers’ work depending on the yesterday’s work status; in contrast sales leaders work depending on the goals for tomorrow.
The idea is simple: Sales leaders do not accept the “average” even if it means not following the trends of the marketplace. They create success by pioneering new sales strategies. It is then only that they lead their customers to achieve outcomes that customers even didn’t think were possible.
Patricia is a full time CRM consultant at ConvergeHub and part-time blogger. She has earned herself quite a fame as a specialist and market expert in CRM software. In the last five year she has worked with various companies as CRM consultant to help them move their businesses to cloud. Her expertise lies in offering cloud CRM consultation, CRM customization and integration solutions to small enterprises. For last one she is engaged in building ConvergeHub, cloud-based CRM solution for SMBs, as a consultant.Follow her at Twitter: @jones_converge