The sales universe fascinates me.
My dad owns an optician and he’s the kind of guy who sells inkless pens. Everything has been sold, orange, junkyard and whatever else appears in front.
He says that since he was a child he was in the market, every day, selling.
Following his work from the perspective is no different. If he’s not there, the store doesn’t even sell 30%. People don’t just go there to buy glasses, they go there with my father.
The truth is, we enjoy shopping. But we feel even more pleasure in buying an experience, above any other product.
That’s exactly what my father provides for his clients. Going to the store and talking to him is a much greater experience than buying prescription glasses.
Now, a 15 square meter store and a commercial sector that practices inside sales are very different, right? However, the maxim is the same.
You value your shopping experience much more than your actual purchase.
In a complex/consultative sale this becomes even more evident. You need to present the value of your product and this is often not easy.
Being part of the sales team here at OTB I confess that I made mistakes a few times (several). My goal here is to show you these mistakes so you don’t make them too.
The mistakes I made that you won’t want to make either
As I said above, the B2B and B2C sales environment is very different, and this ended up making me feel strange. Even with all the training done, some things you only identify in practice.
I will talk about them now 🙂
Be an expert on your product
In a complex and/or consultative sale, almost nothing matters as much as your product. To sell it you literally have to be an expert on the subject.
What pains does your product solve? Who has these pains?
It’s essential to understand exactly how your solution works for three main reasons:
- You can educate your lead;
- You identify exactly the pains he feels and that you can resolve;
- The overcoming objections is – plus easy – constructive.
A complex sale shouldn’t be a battle of objections and answers. These moments can happen – and they usually do – but they can be easily bypassed.
As you manage to get around your lead’s objections, understanding why he’s questioning, this inquiry becomes an educational opportunity.
You are hostage to how much your lead qualifies.
And then another point comes in:
Your customer is the key
In a consultative sale, nothing is more important than understanding your customer’s reality. After all, there’s no point in selling your product to someone who doesn’t have a fit, do you agree?
It is imperative to never disregard objections raised by your lead.
You are the authority on the subject and ignoring an objection is almost the same as saying you don’t know about that subject.
In the end, assuming you don’t know something, but going to find out, generates a lot more value than just letting it go – of course, if you really go after that information for your lead.
Still about your customer, another question:
Your persona and the qualification process
Your product is fit for a market share that is your TAM. Your efforts should be directed towards the personas that make up this TAM.
For this, performing a good qualification is essential.
Identifying if that lead has the pains you can solve and is at the ideal time to buy your solution – that is, identify the scenario in which he finds himself – is what characterizes Winners!
Here at Blue World City, we always use SPIN and GPCTBA C&I techniques to perform this qualification.
The sales scenario
Making a sale today is very different from making a sale 10 years ago and even more different than the process was in the 1990s.
The game has changed and, with it, so have the rules.
The sale is the result of a complex adaptation process, made up of errors and feedback. In this practice, some items hinder you, some must be overcome and others exposed.
Practice makes perfect, but only with feedback and coachability 🙂
What bothers you?
Not having prior knowledge about your customer
It’s okay that your intention when arranging a meeting with your lead is to understand a little more about his work, the solution he offers and its scenario.
This doesn’t preclude the need for you to know the minimum about it before you even schedule the meeting. Qualification, remember?
give up fast
Most connections are made after the sixth contact. Will you continue to give up after two unanswered emails?
Here at Capital Smart City, we have Reev, which helps us a lot throughout the process.
All customized and/or automated prospecting steps, which facilitates – a lot – the routine of the salesperson who needs to do several follow ups every day.
not knowing when to stop
At the same time, being an inconvenience sucks for your company, for you, and for your lead. It is important to know how far you can go and know how to deal with each type of profile and situation.
A common flow here on Outbound usually has 7 touch points, between calls and emails.
In these touch points, we seek to identify if the lead is just out of time to respond or is really not interested in the solution.
A tip: know when to stop, but never completely discard the lead. After a while, you can try to get back in touch. Maybe you’ll hit the timing this next time.
Getting out of your comfort zone is difficult. In a sale, there are several times when you will have to do this.
First contact, schedule a meeting, qualify.
These are all complex steps, but they’re worthless if you can’t take the next step. Be aggressive in your call to actions and don’t be afraid to demand a quick response from the lead.
One that maybe takes time is much worse than one that doesn’t.
Have a telemarketing mindset
Many people relate the outbound process to telemarketing. On a first impression, they may look similar, but one thing has NOTHING to do with the other!
The first thing that comes to mind when it comes to telemarketing is inconvenient agents calling non-stop other people and offering products that, most of the time, these people are not interested in.
Being inconvenient in a consultative sale doesn’t make sense, do you agree?
In this type of sale, your ultimate goal is not to close, but the process is quite different. Also, you don’t want a high churn rate.
The important thing here is to understand the reality and pains of the lead and see if, in that scenario, your solution makes sense.
So, leave the famous closing techniques aside and let’s qualify!
not understanding your market
Self-knowledge is fundamental, do you agree?
So, to be able to understand if your product is fit for a certain lead, you – first of all – have to know your processes and your market very well.
Knowing your competitors makes a big difference. It helps you know exactly what your differentials are and show the lead why your solution is better.
Its processes also enrich its differentials. Showing why each process must be done a certain way is also essential.
be dominated on the call
In a qualifying call, you are the authority!
You are the one who will decide who is fit or not, whether you want to sell to that customer or not. How much autonomy, huh?
Nothing worse than being overwhelmed during the call.
Not being able to ask the questions you need to ask, not being sure of your qualification, and moving forward with an unfit lead through the funnel are all serious issues.
Generate authority and control the call. Apply techniques, such as the famous SPIN, and ensure assertiveness in your process.
Be an authority like Spider was.
What must be overcome?
While practicing my skills as a salesperson here at Outbound I learned that 3 factors are inevitable, but they guarantee you a higher success rate as soon as they are overcome. Are they:
the fear of not
Nobody likes to hear no. The human being is programmed to avoid rejection. Unfortunately, in the sales world, there are far more negative responses than positive responses.
That’s not why you shouldn’t pick up the phone and call.
I say this because the fear of a negative response in a call is very great. Even because you are dealing with a real person with real reactions and you need to think about the next answer right away.
I don’t want to put those Walt Disney or Steve Jobs overcoming stories here. You already understand what I mean and you probably already know these stories.
It’s like that ballad saying: “The no you already have, run after the yes”.
Nervousness and anxiety
The hand starts to sweat, the pizzas start to appear and the air-conditioned office becomes the anteroom of hell. But it’s just the phone ringing.
Normal. Stepping out of your comfort zone results in experiences like that, but what you find outside of your comfort zone is amazing!
If the lead is calling you, he’s the one who wanted to get in touch with you. Nor did the initiative come from you. What’s the worst thing that can happen?
As Arnaldo would say, follow the game!
The automated speech
Okay, it’s important to plan before calling or meeting with the lead.
Nothing can be worse than talking to a robot. I even hate Eduardo, Oi’s virtual assistant.
Cold calls have logic behind them. Unautomated speech is not the same as trying to force a friendship. What matters is building trust between the two parties.
Always plan, but know how to change your speech according to the progress of the call. Interact, put your experiences into the game, and generate rapport.
Trust comes with time, believe me!
What should you exhibit?
Now, putting all these points into practice – or failing to execute some of them – some things you should expose and they are paramount.
Showing that you really want to talk to that lead and making them feel valued generates a lot of value.
Thus, exposing that you have contacted him at other times – and even through other channels – is a great strategy.
You can even name that gatekeeper you had to pass, just to let him know you’re really trying to communicate.
I reaffirm, your priority must always be your lead.
You must show him that you want to serve him, solve a problem above all, rather than just selling. When he feels comfortable and really trusts you, you can start talking about sales.
The lead understands that you don’t just want to sell, you want to help them solve a problem they have, in the best way possible.
Your call is not decisive, you don’t want to end every call you make with a signed contract in hand. Remember the qualifying round? Make this clear to the lead.
If you identify that the time is not right, explaining this situation to the lead also creates value and keeps the doors open for a future partnership.
Have clear priorities!
Finally, what helps you?
You, who have come this far, deserve tips from those who live a daily sales routine. And I am delighted to tell them now, briefly:
- Have a well-targeted process;
- Join technology with tools like Reev;
- Want to sell, but don’t be overzealous;
- Use methodologies to let the process happen naturally;
- Study and get to know all the methodologies and theories well;
- A LOT of Role Playing, simulations and feedbacks, with your fellow sellers or your managers.
Want a test?
They say that a good salesperson should be able to reach a stranger and maintain a conversation by asking only questions, without the stranger even asking for the name of the salesperson.
The longer you talk, the better your argumentation skills and the better your experience in high-impact situations. It’s worth testing!
Still have doubts? Send me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org, a message on facebook.com/impedrodias, on LinkedIn, or a smoke signal. I will love to help you! (I just don’t guarantee that I’ll be able to if I opt for the smoke signal)