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Winning Sales in a Losing Economy

Take smaller steps:
Today, customers want to take their time. They are fearful and uncertain about what’s next. So, in turn, you must slow down to increase your sales. Are you running to a solution too soon when you haven’t yet taken the next small step to understand their new challenges and anxieties? What may have been a five-step sales cycle may be a 10-step journey now. Re-assess and tune up your sales strategy for a different route to the top by doing the following:

  1. Write down your current sales process steps.

  2. See where you can break apart each step into smaller ones (“Build rapport” can be broken into “send article,” “get a meeting on the calendar,” “mail handwritten thank-you card for their time,” etc.).

  3. Put the new list to work by creating a spreadsheet with the steps as column titles and then list each prospect down the first column. Assess where you are for each prospect and notice missing steps or areas to redefine your approach.

Sell passion not product:
Passion drives your prospects. A resistant client in the high tech industry shocked the salesperson when he admitted, “we like your product, but we just don’t get your story.” They needed vendors who added to the brand, mystique and “remarkablility” of their products. When the stunned salesperson returned with a new presentation of their product direction, innovative philosophy and company culture, he was able to close the deal. Are your prospects looking for more than just a shallow pitch?

  1. List your top prospects.

  2. Identify at least three things that excite them or cause them great pain – and explain how your product or service addresses these issues.

  3. Create a “story” about your offering using the themes and phrases in Step 2. What’s passionate about your product or service? And don’t fall off the cliff because you think you sell a commodity product. Just look at the stories created around commodities like coffee and tennis shoes!

Unbundle:
One business deal was being stifled because the salesperson had the whole package, but the recession was driving price into the equation. The client only needed pieces of the solution for now to get through the year. Unbundling the offering delighted the client, and they closed the deal.

  1. Collect and categorize the main customer complaints, objections or other reasons for not buying.

  2. Schedule a meeting with relevant company functions that can impact the customer end-product (manufacturing, design, R&D, service delivery, field maintenance, etc.)

  3. At the meeting review the categories you created in Step 1 and brainstorm innovative ways to help the customer (what can be unbundled, repackaged, re-priced, delivered differently, combined, etc.).
 
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