17. Only 13% of customers believe sales reps understand their needs
Take the time to listen. Too many buyers complain that salespeople do not fully understand their needs and problems. You cannot sell a solution for a problem you don’t know about.
It is said “Customers don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” and listening deeply is a fundamental skill for every salesperson to take on as a process of continuous learning. Forever. Take it on as a practice, like meditation and yoga. Find different ways to learn questioning skills – as a form of communication, connection, and problem-solving – and not just as a selling skill. Practice asking “Tell me more about that…” in EVERY conversation. Practice BEING inquisitive and interested. Practice asking questions to take a conversation deeper than surface level and see what happens.
AS a Sales Manager, BE the example of listening skills and practice. Ask yourself:
• Do I ask questions to help my sales team members to discover solutions or do I tell them what to do?
• Do I consciously practice developing MY questioning skills with my salespeople, with support people, with customers?
• Do I fully appreciate the skill of asking questions and deeply listening to responses?
Is there room for me to grow in this area? Am I willing to take that on?
#13 78% of sales reps who use social media outsell reps who don’t
It’s crucial for sales reps to be easily accessible. Having active social media profiles is a great way for your reps to connect with prospects and customers.
Salespeople Put this action on your weekly calendar and don’t rely on memory or instinct to guide you to do this. Talk to other salespeople (in other industries, and in different B2B or B2C sales positions) about what they are doing and what they are achieving with social media. Don’t reinvent the wheel…do what is working for some as you learn and expand your skills…but do it.
You may have some challenges with the marketing department on this one. It’s up to YOU to have the conversation with marketing to know what the sales team can say/not say and post/not post on their ‘personal/business’ page or other social media pages. This is an opportunity for training and measuring results. And everyone shouldn’t be required to do it…let the ones who want to expand their reach and are comfortable with the format experiment and learn…and then share it with others.
# 12 Up to 70% of product information is found online, not through sales reps
Self-discovered information is becoming the norm for product research and purchasing decisions. Your company needs to have targeted and relevant sales materials that are easy for customers to find.
Salespeople This is true for B2B sales and B2C. The prospect no longer relies heavily on the salesperson for information where there is much to be found online. And researching online is such an integral part of the buying process that it needs to be part of the Discovery Questions that the salesperson is asking their prospect: Where have you been looking? What have you found? What questions do you have? What do you like/not like about what you have learned? Rather than resist internet research, embrace it and ask more questions about it. What we resist, persists!
Have your sales team research what their prospects are searching for so that they know what they are being told. Is the information accurate? Current? Complete? Does it skew toward a particular direction?
Coach your team to include internet research in their Discovery Questions and ask about it in your one on one sessions. Roleplay this area with your people so that they are comfortable having this conversation with their prospects. Otherwise, their prospect knows more about the marketplace than they do…not a good place to sell from.