Let’s face it, the economy is not down–it is different. We all know it. Things are never going back to the way they were.
Globalization, advancements in technology and increased competition have put the consumer in complete control of the buying cycle. They determine when, where, how and from whom they are going to buy.
This is a trust and value economy.
Trust and value are the return on investment (ROI) customers and prospects are looking for. When trust and value are recognized and felt by your prospects, then trust and value, not price, become the deciding factor. The challenge is trust and value cannot be traditionally sold–they have to be built. This makes what we sell a commodity, and how we sell our true competitive advantage.
So, what do I mean by “how” we sell?
Let me give you an example.
I have a marketing contractor whom I love working with. I started working with “Bob” in January of 2011. At that time, I contracted Bob for a $500 job, to date I have paid Bob more than $15,000.
Now if you would have asked in January of this year if I planned to pay Bob $15,000 I would have said “HECK no”! If you ask me in August of 2011 if I am happy I have paid him $15,000 my answer is “HECK yeah”, and I hope I pay him more by the end of 2011.
Why? Why am I happy I have exceeded the budget? Why am I happy that I have bought more products and services from Bob than I ever intended?
The answer lies in these six steps:
1. Create Your Unique Identity
Your WOW factor! Ask yourself what makes you different–what makes you standout from the crowd? Prospects are overwhelmed with too much to do, too many options and too many choices. If you want them to choose you, then you need to give them a reason, and you need to stand out from the crowd and your competition.
Creating your unique identity will open the prospects door before you ever knock on it, as well as ensure your customers keep the door closed when your competition calls.
2. Know Your Prospects
Want to shorten the sales cycle? Then spend your sales call time in front of more qualified prospects.
Here is a news flash, not everyone wants to do business with you, and you don’t want to do business with everyone. Know your market, know your niche, and then use this information to truly qualify your prospects before you ever make a call.
3. Sell Small To Sell Big
In a trust and value economy patience is a virtue, while the need for instant gratification is a curse. Trust takes time to build and value takes time to prove. Really asking great questions and determining what the true need of the prospect is not only gives you great information, but it shows the prospect you care.
Listening is one of the most powerful ways to build trust. Once you learn the prospects true need, you can solve their problem first (sell small) further building trust and taking the all important steps that will open the doors to sell big.
4. Sell Risk/Value NOT Price
Answer the following questions:
- What are the top two reasons your prospects would lose if they did not do business with you?
- And, what are the top two reasons your customers will win because they do?
Now if we asked your prospects and customers those two questions would their answers be the same as yours? If not, you are selling price and your prospects and customers may very well leave you if a lower price option comes along.
They key to gaining new customers, retaining existing customers, and turning a profit is to ensure your prospects and customers clearly understand what they gain or lose from doing business with you.
5. Show Them Opportunity
As sales people, account reps, advocates, whatever you want to call us, our job is to make the lives of our customers better. We ask questions and we listen, so we can learn all of their challenges, problems, hopes and dreams for their business and their lives. Our prospects and customers know what they want, our job is to use our knowledge and our services to help them get it.
6. Overfill Your Sales Funnel
When is the hardest time to close a sale? When you need it to close.
Remember, the consumer is now controlling the buying cycle so they decide when and if the sale will close. You can influence the sales cycle, but if you try to push a prospect or customer too fast you will lose them. So, how do you be patient when you have goals and deadlines to meet? You overfill your sales funnel.
Have so much moving through your pipeline, that if your prospect needs more time it is not an issue, you have a customer that needs more information you feel no pressure.
When you overfill your sales funnel, you have so much moving through your pipeline that deals are always closing and new ones are always on the way. You sell from a place of power rather than a place of need.
These are exciting times if you are passionate about what you sell, and passionate about your customers. This is your economy!
Tune in for more tips about how to sell in a trust and value economy, and pick up my book, Winning In the Trust & Value Economy!