To become a better salesperson and sales leader, you need to own the customer experience and every aspect of the sale cycle. That means being there in some way at every customer touch point. You can’t just pass someone off that you don’t want to deal with, and you can’t neglect or ignore them when it doesn’t fit into your schedule. Learning important sales leadership lessons can help you and your company to thrive, which is your ultimate goal.
Most sales reps seem to be either leaders or salespeople, but not both. However, the most successful sales reps are also often great leaders. There’s more to selling than closing the deal; you need to be organized, you need to know when and how to follow through, and you need to know when to be politely forceful and/or quiet.
The Customer Comes First
It’s a simple concept that most people forget it, salespeople in particular. They’re so focused on closing the deal that they don’t think about the customer at all. This often means you are not practicing active listening and you are missing some key points the customer is trying to communicate to you. Your goal isn’t to sell 100 vacuum cleaners in a month; your goal is to help the customer enhance or better their lives by buying a vacuum cleaner that allows them to work faster and with more efficiency.
Most meetings are focused on the product and/or service, rather than asking what the customer wants. A good rule of thumb is to not sell your product/service but to focus on solving the customer’s problem. Practice asking open-ended questions to get more information about your customer’s problem. This shows that you are engaged, and it also allows you the opportunity to actively listen to your customer while taking detailed notes. When you are done with your meeting, these notes will be the key to putting together a practical solution to your customer’s problem. Think of yourself as a problem solver, not a sales rep.
Technology Is King
Many sales teams are heading for extinction because they can’t get the hang of new technology. Technology is ever-changing, and companies are adapting to this technology quickly, so you need to focus on ways to use this technology to reach your customers during unique points in their buying cycle. Selling on social media is a powerful opportunity if you take the time to lean in and really learn how to utilize it effectively. Many people are still focused on the dreaded cold-call instead of learning how to use the Internet to their advantage.
Social media is just one avenue you can use to reach your customers in a new place. You can also use emails, text messages, video conferencing, and screen sharing applications to reach your customers in new places and in new ways. Try sending your customer an email with a video of yourself that includes a short audio message with an attached customized PowerPoint. This personalizes the email and shows your client/prospect that you are putting in a great effort in order to help them solve their problem.
By focusing on the customer and reaching them via new technology channels you are going to stand out from your competitors. Remember that you must serve your prospect as if they were your number one customer. This will set you apart and pay dividends in the form of closed deals and new opportunities. When your customer notices this type of dedicated effort going into building your relationship and solving their problems, they will want to do more business with you and better yet, they will tell their friends about you. Learn to love the customer and the customer will love you.