Sales has changed. High pressure closing tactics are a thing of the past. The power has shifted from the sales person to the buyer and therefore we must change our strategy.Before we get into how the sales process has changed, let’s remember the definition of inbound methodology.
Inbound marketing is focusing on growing your business through relevant and helpful content that adds value at every stage of your customers buying journey.
Did you see it? How inbound works?
Inbound only works when your objective is to grow or increase sales, be helpful, and add value to your customer in order to gain their trust and ultimately, their business. So why would our sales process not match this methodology?
Traditional sales is all about closing. Sell your prospects by pressure tactics and get them to sign the deal, even if it’s not what they need or want. Anything to get the sale. Those days are over.
Helping is the New Closing:
Fast forward to today, where the customer has the power to search online for different vendors, solutions and companies to address their needs. They're interested in doing their homework, researching solutions and talking to their co-workers and peers in the industry. But when they get a cold call with a hard sell, they definitely aren't interested.
Now, instead of the hard sell, start your conversation with the prospect like this.
“I am here to help!"
They may pause or stumble because they are caught off guard. They may not be used to a sales person asking how they can help. A few things happen when you do this.
- You prove you are different and set yourself apart from other sales people.
- You show that you want to add value to their experience.
- You demonstrate that you have their best interest in mind.
Instead of looking to sell, you are here to help. By showing you are here to help, a customer may let their guard down and have an honest conversation about their current marketing strategy, goals and objectives.
When they ask what exactly you can help with, your answer should be clear and concise. For us, we help companies grow and increase sales. We find out what their current sales are, what kind of marketing tactics are they engaged with and what their sales goals are. From there, we use our mantra of “always be helping” to find a solution that works for their business that will increase sales and keep them on a growth projection to hit their goals. If we do not think we can do it, we will say so. We want it to be a good fit for them and for us. We will never take on a client for inbound marketing if we do not 110% believe we can help them. Why? We are here to help, not sell.
Helping also builds trust. When you help first, you are on the customers side. You are trying to help them grow their business. When the company is growing, they look good and can benefit from the work you are doing internally. Being helpful does not stop on your exploratory and goals/objectives calls, be sure to carry that throughout.
- Have good communication (send clear follow up emails detailing phone conversations).
- Provide additional resources to your conversations.
- Be punctual with your scheduled meeting times (being late to your own meeting is never good).
- Always have their intentions in mind when working with them.
Bring the Energy!
Think of it this way, we all have a friend who is always really positive and lots of good energy. How do you feel when you are around them? You feel good, right? It’s hard to not be happy or be positive when you are around someone like this. If you bring positive energy to your call, it will carry over to your prospect.
Now, if you bring your positive energy and your intent to help to a call with a prospect, you will be in good shape.
As much as I have always enjoyed the movie Glengarry Glen Ross and the Alec Baldwin scene where he proclaims that coffee is for closers, it's time to update the line. See the full scene from the movie here. (warning on language)
Do you have experiences or thoughts on this? I would love to hear your stories or examples of your sales process, just comment below!