A few days ago, I wrote about the difficulty most companies have in doing active prospecting that generates value and brings results. The article (which you can read here) had a great response, many people identified themselves and contacted me, which resulted in a very nice exchange of knowledge and even new projects for our consultancy.
This time, I decided to talk about another obstacle presented by our readers, which is closing a deal.
Today it is possible to increase your opportunities through active, passive, outsourced, or even semi-automated prospecting by various technologies. But how to effectively close these opportunities? Is that not just getting more trades, but selling more and with the best conversion possible?
And my answer is: changing your sales pitch and adopt pitch used by the team of Blue World City.
This is the second topic of the paradigm shift that modern sales is undergoing, and one that you need to keep up with. Just as the audience should no longer be a target, they don’t like to be persuaded or manipulated.
That’s why I’m going to explain in six steps how to change your sales pitch to sell better by putting yourself in the position of your potential customer. After all, as Theodore Roosevelt said, “nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”
don’t be a wolf
Steli Eft, CEO of Close.io, has a very insightful definition of good salesman posture in the US tech environment and why commercial teams enjoy so much prestige today. Through storytelling, he explains that these experts manage not to place themselves above or below their clients in a negotiation.
Being a wolf, like Leonardo Di Caprio playing Jordan Belfort, is no longer conducive to current business models.
In fact, you need to read to understand what to follow and what not to: Learn to sell with the Wolf of Wall Street
The truth is that adopting a self-centered and unfriendly sales pitch is irreconcilable with three pillars of modern sales: building trust, customer success, and value creation.
On the other hand, being too friendly and fragile is not going to help you, as I explain in the following topic.
But don’t be a lamb either
It is likely that you know your market and your product better than your customer. Therefore, letting him conduct the negotiation alone can be bad for him. Furthermore, all of us psychologically tend to abuse defensive postures, making us even more aggressive and controlling than we intend.
In summary, Steli explains that the most effective thing is to be like a good father: friendly but firm. That one says to the son:
Look, I know you’re sleepy and nervous, but here’s what we’re going to do: you’re going to put on your pajamas, I’m going to make your bed, and you’re going to calm down so you can go to the park tomorrow, okay.
The child may not agree at first, but will feel safe and willing in the argument.
Here at OTB, we use similar phrases, following the same logic. An example is:
Look, I know it’s not an easy decision and I understand you need to be smart about investing. But we are going to do the following: I will explain why taking this step makes perfect sense for the scenario you described to me and why we will be able to help your company, ok.
It Works very well!
It’s worth noting, however, that this is just the mindset with which you will permeate your sales pitch. And that, even though it seems simple, it requires a high level of training.
Start from the customer’s point of view
Being increasingly focused on the customer perspective is probably the main pillar of new market trends. This applies to Uber, Netflix and successful B2B businesses like Slack and Unbounded. Which is not to say it’s not hard enough.
You must put yourself in the customer’s shoes not only when developing your sales pitch, but also designing, producing and promoting products and services.
This text speaks well of it: Service Design – How Design Helps Sell a Service
When our consulting team starts a project, our client realizes the huge difference it makes to know the concepts of qualification matrix, objection matrix, sales pitch. And it also effectively learns how the sales matrix and discourse would be for the niche in which it operates.
Today there are a number of outsourced tools and services capable of bringing opportunities to your company. The conversion of these opportunities, however, is quite different. Customers who arrived by referral, for example, demand knowledge of how to sell better or will only generate labor costs.
I recently spoke with a company that had submitted 190 proposals in the last year and only converted 4. Similar cases are very common, all because of bad sales pitch.
Your sales pitch should be customer-based, illustrated with the customer’s context and challenges, and focus on the top priority for the customer, not you.
The salesperson’s focus is usually on closing, but for the customer it is the positive implications that this step can bring. The sale, therefore, is more likely to happen if it is focused on these points.
Thinking from the customer’s perspective is complex because it is not limited to negotiation, but to the design of your sales team’s process and even the beginning of the search for opportunities, as I described in my last text. So the next tip has to do with the moment when it seems that you stop selling to partner with your customers.
Discuss your common customers
In B2B (company-to-company) negotiations, it is more than common for the sale on the agenda to also relate to your lead’s customers. In this case, one of the most effective ways to dilute the feeling that you are on opposite sides of the table is to adopt a trading partner stance.
Sales Executive Checklist Worksheet
Learn how to perform the best sales executive candidate assessment possible for your team.
In other posts, we’ve already talked about the functions performed by Commercial Intelligence, Prospector and the SDR.
Now we will focus on the professional who had their work most affected by the changes that took place in the process, the Sales Executive.
We know that the sales executive is a mandatory professional in every self-respecting commercial operation.
He is so important that he has his own day of the year.
Do you know when it is? It’s October 1st!
If you want to learn a little more about the competencies of a sales executive, whether to hire or to be one, visit our sales executive checklist.
In it you will find a bank of questions that are used to identify the 10 competencies in selection processes.
The 10 Sales Executive Skills
Below we will talk about the role of the Seller in the current scenario, the profiles most found in the market, how much they earn on average, their skills and indicators of success in the process.
Browse the content
- What does a sales executive do?
- How much does a sales executive earn?
- Where sales executives look for opportunities and vacancies
- Top tip about the B2B sales executive
- 10 Characteristics of a Good Sales Executive
- B2B Sales Executive Profiles
- Sales Executive Success Indicators
What does a sales executive do?
The sales executive is responsible for qualifying and closing potential customers, using negotiation, rapport and closing techniques.
As you segment your MQL post generation process, after opportunity generation, you can have a salesperson performing different and more specific functions, such as focus on qualification, closing, among others.
The sales executive, or salesperson, plays a strategic role within organizations.
Previously, he performed the entire commercial process, regardless of the complexity of the sale made. He prospected, qualified and closed the deal.
We know that the commercial process has changed a lot in recent years and let’s summarize in one sentence the difference between the old and the current: As a general rule, in B2B, sellers must be specialized and most of them should not prospect.
In general, the functions of Sales Executives are:
- Visits to customers;
- Handle objections ;
- Presentation of products and services;
- Submission of budgets and proposals;
- Sales closing;
- Commercial networking;
- Participation in fairs and events;
How much does a sales executive earn?
The next question is: What is the salary of a Sales Executive?
The market average is R$4200.00.
There are cases where he can receive more, ranging around R$7000, depending on his level of experience and company.
Depending on the company, it is possible to receive more than R$10,000. It is important to consider that it is important for a sales executive to receive a sales commission linked to his own result.
Where sales executives look for opportunities and vacancies
Some websites that specialize in offering and looking for professional opportunities have greater searches for Sales Executive vacancies.
Examples are Catho, Vagas, Linkedin and Glassdoor.
Top tip about the B2B sales executive
Previously, the salesperson performed all the steps of the sales pipeline, regardless of the complexity of the sale made.
He prospected, qualified and closed the deal.
Until then, there were no relevant criticisms of the process being carried out in this way, even more if the seller was a specialist in some sales technique, such as SPIN and Action Selling, for example.
However, there was one point that intrigued Aaron Ross.
Companies could not scale their sales. If the product sold was not for the B2C market or something extremely necessary, such as an ERP from SAP, companies would hardly grow with revenue predictability. But why did this happen?
The answer is quite simple: The seller fails to commit to the goal of generated leads, MQLs, SQLs and new business.
There are many DRIs in the hands of a single person, and as part of the compensation is linked to the commission per sale made, all the incentives will lead them to leave small businesses and those with growth potential only in the long term aside, to focus only in those who are already “at the mouth of the goal”.
This is not the seller’s fault, he only works with the incentives he has, which in this case, are not the best for the company he works for.
In this new process, the salesperson’s focus was to shorten the sales cycle and work the markup with an already well-qualified SQL, focusing on more technical presentations of the solution, generating rapport in phone calls, dinners, travel and the like, providing the best possible experience for he, having in mind a single point: closure!
Within the AIDA funnel, its function is to encourage buyer action. It can be the “no” to focus on another SQL or the “yes” that allows the negotiations to continue.
10 Characteristics of a Good Sales Executive
Some characteristics are essential for the professional to perform the role of sales executive with excellence.
Ease of adapting to situations
Each client will have a story and arguments, and it is necessary to know how to adapt to what was mentioned by him and overcome objections with ease and lightness.
Communication is the basis of negotiation with the customer. It is necessary to make the conversation as clear as possible so that no deviations or misunderstandings arise during or after closing.
It is essential to know the customer well, and for that, it is necessary to have empathy for him and a real willingness to help. This makes it easier to understand who he is, his “pains” and needs, and how his solution will help him.
A sales executive needs to pick it up and do it, he needs to be able to foresee possible needs and questions that the customer may have and already guarantee that he will know how to answer them.
Desire to learn
It is very important to be always studying and training according to market changes and trends.
Know how to activate mental triggers
A sales executive needs to understand how mental triggers and cognitive biases can be addressed to best position a benefit, product, or how to handle an objection.
It is necessary to have great self-control of your emotions and intelligence to know how to deal with different types of client personalities and situations.
Know how to set goals
And more than knowing how to set goals is to set and execute smaller goals in order to reach a bigger goal.
Know how to manage your time
A salesperson’s schedule is always full, and in order to be able to serve all customers with quality, it is necessary to know how to manage their time well and be organized.
The result often takes a long time to appear in the commercial area, and it is necessary to have persistence in order not to be shaken and discouraged in the meantime.
Having a qualified professional in the sales team with these characteristics makes a big difference in the results achieved by the sales area and by the company as a whole.
To help you with that, we’ve made a Sales Executive Hiring Checklist. The material is very nice and will help you to be assertive when hiring! The download link is here in the video description.
B2B Sales Executive Profiles
There are different profiles of sellers, some focusing on the relationship, others on technical aspects of the sale or both. Below, we better describe some of the four existing types:
It is the passive salesperson, who avoids actively seeking out customers and tries to position himself correctly at an event in order to be close to the personas that interest him. Avoid approaches to not appear invasive and scare off a potential customer, usually creating a situation where the lead goes to him.
It has an ideal profile for Inbound Sales, where part of the qualification has already been done and he should just go deeper into the solution’s features and understand a little better the current situation of SQL to close the sale.
Focus on relationship
It is the seller who has a total focus on generating rapport, making the buying process driven more by emotions than technical factors.
At the same time, there is the positive side, such as a shorter sales cycle and a greater margin for negotiating the markup, without necessarily having a product that perfectly meets the customer’s needs.
There is also a downside, which is the possibility of high churn.
The logic behind this fact is simple: When a person buys something more for emotional than technical factors, he tends in the medium/long term not to see value in the purchased product, since that cost will not necessarily generate a return for the contracting party.
In the simple sales scenario, this is the ideal profile.
People who generate trust faster usually manage to make greater sales in the scenario described.
This profile is only focused on closing the deal as quickly as possible.
They usually give up building a good future relationship and better explaining how the product solves the customer’s problem just to achieve the short-term goal, which is the sale.
The downside is that the customer sometimes comes to the company with high expectations, since the seller, with a focus on reducing negotiation time, sold a “dream” that cannot be fulfilled by the product, also generating a negative impact on Churn.
Amazingly, this profile is not necessarily bad for a sales professional.
If your business process is segmented by Prospector and SDR, for example, when SQL comes to sales, it is already well qualified, then the salesperson can focus exclusively on reducing the sales cycle and not leaving money on the table, something that this profile does naturally already tends to do.
He has a profile of listening to all of the Prospect’s pains and needs before putting together the sales pitch.
With this data in hand, he tends to effectively reconcile emotional and technical selling, knowing the right moment to press or not.
Its characteristics are ideal for the scenario of a Startup that has a commercial team divided only into Prospector and Seller, as it manages to encompass the SDR functions without losing so much efficiency, as it will not force a premature closure without first understanding what the needs are that Prospect actually has.
Sales Executive Success Indicators
- Sales Cycle
- Open Rate
- Reply Rate
- Average ticket
Sales executives were the professionals who most had their role within the Outbound team changed by the changes that took place, however this is not a devaluation of the work performed before.
What was done is to direct the efforts and specific talents of each one to the part of the process that they already performed best, making the results scalable and easy to follow.
After all, it shouldn’t be easy for the seller to be charged for generating lists, contacts made daily, MQLs, SQLs and closings, that is, almost all indicators in the commercial area (including here what modern Marketing assumes today ).
One bro helps the other bro sell more 😉
If your product can, directly or indirectly, depend on your customers’ customers, it is perfectly possible to use arguments such as:
So, [lead], you told me that the main purchase period for your customers is from December to March, right? And do you agree with me that if we don’t take the opportunity to start this month, we won’t have enough time and you will end up wasting part of these opportunities?
Of course, this argument needs a specific context to use. The point, however, is that you can provide similar insights for your lead. Not only related to the date when the deal should close, but also to the plan to be acquired or the positive and negative implications that each choice would bring to your customers, for example.
Help him to program
As I’ve already shown in the topic above, one of the main points of attention in a negotiation is working on time.
This point is especially tricky if you haven’t built trust and demonstrated authority first. But if you’ve already shown that you care and have been able to use frameworks to put yourself alongside your lead, it won’t be hard to understand your flexibility with a decision date.
Here we teach you how to use our sales framework: GPCTBA C&I – How 8 Letters Can Make Your Business up or down
The most effective thing is to be patient in the first contacts, allowing the generation of value without the pressure of a decision to make, leading you to try to shorten the sales cycle.
When talking about prices, however, the ideal is to already know quite well about the time needed for a decision. Not prolonging it can be important – not for you, but for him.
be willing to give up
Lastly, we have the topic that requires more maturity. Demonstrating that you are not dependent on closing a deal may not only be important in saving you time or avoiding critical discounts.
As counterintuitive as it is, an attitude of detachment can help you sell more and even build trust.
Imagine that in the middle of a negotiation you are told:
Look, [lead], you can even convince me otherwise, but from what we’re talking about, I think it’s a way to help your company a lot.
If the other side of the negotiation, instead of pushing your point of view, allows you to try to convince him otherwise; not only will you see a more consensual dialogue, but you will also be less likely (and able) to refute it. =P
Conclusion – Improve your sales pitch and increase your conversions
Getting more business opportunities is not simple. But, if you have a company, you just need to find the acquisition channel with the most adherence to your business and bet on your sales pitch. We’re going to launch a product ourselves soon and we’re in that rush.
Still, you need to be concerned about the parts of the business process that continue to rely on human capital and can be the crucial difference between getting new customers or not. Therefore, it is essential that, in addition to making the best possible use of market technologies, every company is concerned with converting new customers.
If you want to know which acquisition channels and technologies make the most sense for your company and how to design your business process based on your specific audience, feel free to talk to me. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.