Struggling to close a sale is a dilemma that all salespeople face at some point in their career. We all encounter certain deals where no matter what strategy you adopt, what stroke of genius you come up with, nothing you can think of will move the deal forward.
What if I told you that the real problem may not be that your customer wasn’t ready to buy what you are selling, but that they simply weren’t ready to buy you? That may sound like a harsh or unusual statement to make, but believe me when I tell you in the business to business sales world customers are buying you, as much, if not more than what’s in your kitbag.
No one can argue that the B2B sales world has been turned on its head over the last few years, as technology and buying behaviours have changed, shifting the balance of power from sellers firmly in favour of buyers. Prospects are no longer taking a back seat in sales conversations and don’t want to be told what to do; they are savvy, empowered and hyper sensitive to phony or contrived sale pitches. At the first sniff of dishonesty, lack of professionalism, or high-pressure sales tactics, the majority of b2b customers nowadays will disengage with the vendor in question. If you genuinely want to be successful in this evolving sales profession, you must commit to developing new skills and focus on becoming the sort of salesperson whom customers actually want to buy from. How can you do that? Here’s some food for thought.
At Trinity Perspectives, we spend our days advising and supporting a wide range of B2B sales teams, helping them identify effective strategies to close more deals and forcing them to re-evaluate their preconceived notions about what constitutes sales success. We have conducted countless Sales Win/Loss Reviews to try and answer one simple question: “Why do we win and lose the deals we pitch for, and what can we do about it?”
After years of interviewing senior leaders and decision-makers across a broad range of industries, we have identified several behaviors and traits displayed by consistently successful sales people. In this article, I’ll share five characteristics of successful sales people that may be worth emulating.
5 Character Traits of Great Salespeople
- They tell great stories. Those who are successful in sales have mastered the art of storytelling and are avid collectors of stories, quotes, facts, and anything else that can aid in illustrating their point or articulating a compelling case. Being a great storyteller goes a long way in making you memorable, an effective communicator, and establishing rapport with your prospects and customers. By honing this skill and equipping yourself with an arsenal of interesting, humorous and relevant stories to pepper your conversations, you will begin moving up the sales ladder and cementing your position as a leader in closing the sale.
- Pace yourself. The reason you’re falling short of closing sales may have to do with being too aggressive in your approach. Being too eager to prove yourself can work against you and send the message that you’re not focused on building a relationship, or it can come across as being inauthentic. Slow it down and show them you are a credible source of valuable information, not simply a self-serving salesperson. Also, take your time during the discovery/analysis phase at the beginning of the sales cycle. It is a crucial time to listen and understand the needs of your prospects. You want to build a complete picture of your customer by capturing everything they share with you.
- Don’t try so hard to make the sale. Prospects are far too savvy to fall prey to sneaky closing techniques. Trying too hard can give the impression of desperation and be a reason for prospects to not trust you. The last thing you want is for customers to feel pressured to make a decision, otherwise they will become frustrated and look for an escape route. A better approach is to maintain momentum throughout the entire sales cycle and work to get to know them from the onset. The objective is to learn all you can about your customers and aggregate all those jigsaw pieces to formulate a solution that fits their needs.
- Customization is key. Customers are tired of hearing canned sales presentations and being inundated with irrelevant information that’s not pertinent to them. This method is counterproductive in that it repels interest in being open to what you have to offer. Smart salespeople seek out creative ways to interact with and add value to the customer engagement, and customize it in a way that they know you are addressing their specific needs. Using a customized selling approach creates relevance for the customer and addresses exactly what they need and are looking for. Taking this customized approach, people are more apt to buy from you because they trust what you have to say, which ultimately translates into closing more sales.
- Remember your customers. Today’s customer expects you to capture, retain, and apply the personal information that they share with you. Remembering details about your customers demonstrates that you are taking an interest in them and are attentively listening when they share insights into their lives. As a result, you earn their trust and establish a deeper connection with them. In addition, all of the nuggets that you glean from your conversations are pure sales gold that can be assembled to form a clearer picture of your customer, and can be used to provide better service. Aside from enriching the customer relationship, it also serves to help you close more sales, creates loyal brand evangelists, and increases the likelihood of referral leads.
Your success in the evolving sales world hinges on your ability to be memorable, engaging, and authentic in your delivery. If you put these five traits into action, you will begin to increase your sales conversion and develop deeper and lasting connections with prospects and customers.
Author of the recently released ‘Rebirth of the Salesman,” a regular sales and marketing commentator in the mainstream media including Sky News Business, SMH and The Age and voted one of the Top 50 Sales bloggers in the world in 2015 and again in 2016, Cian is a passionate proponent of an ethical, honest and authentic approach to sales. His company Trinity Perspectives is committed to helping sales organisations unlock the latent potential of their customers’ insights. To read more of Cian’s sales articles go here: www.trinityperspectives.com.au/blogThis author has published 1 articles so far.