How To Sell Strategically

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How do you sell strategically?

Selling strategically is a phrase that most sales people have heard and wonder about. It’s no question that sales professionals are always looking for the most efficient and effective way to sell their products or services. While strategic selling isn’t necessarily easy, a carefully laid out plan can boost revenue and help your business gain an upper hand against your competitors.

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Learn Your Company
Understanding strategic selling means gaining a clear understanding of your company and its unique vision. When those are well-known and aligned, you can work on selecting the best customers based on how well they fit into the parameters of people who want to buy from you.

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Collect and Analyze All Necessary Information
Selling strategically works only when you make informed decisions from carefully analyzed and accurate information. Learning how to leverage your social selling skills as a sales professional by using social networking to make connections and gather leads that lead to meaningful relationships can be a great way to gather information about your potential customers.

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Establish Yourself as a Credible Expert to Gain Trust
Sales professionals will have a better chance at earning the trust of their customers when they stop trying to sell them something and start trying to help them overcome their challenges. To sell strategically, sales professionals should learn everything there is to know about their customer’s industry, the unique challenges they face, opportunities for resolving these issues, and positioning your product or service as the best way to mitigate risks.  

 

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Sell on Value
When you look at the competition, you can clearly see how your products or services differ. However, a customer isn’t likely to know the industry as well as you. They primarily look at price instead of value, so it’s up to you to create a strategy to sell them on value.

Read Related Article: How To Clarify and Align Sales Goals

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Listen for Opportunities
Customers also tend to know how salespeople operate. For instance, they know that you’re going to tell them features and try to push them to buy, so they’re already on the offensive. The goal is to listen in order to get a better feel for how you can strategically position your solution to their problems. Do they want more information? Do they know what they want or are they asking for help subconsciously? Do they desire more information or want you to point out the best products to help with their issue?

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Clearly Defining Concessions in Sales

Concessions planning is a part of advanced planning for the sales meeting, and it is a critical element of any preparation. Concessions are the changes you are willing to make in the sales meeting to the sales proposal. Reaching a successful deal often involves altering the proposal to better suit the needs and wants of your prospect. It is a negotiation process that must be studied based on what you are selling and your companies profit margins.

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Think of concessions as developing a bottom line, when you clearly define your bottom line you are giving yourself a great anchor point for your negotiation. Before you enter into this discussion you should know how low you can go in price or how you can alter the proposal and remain within your companies desired profit margin. You need to determine much of a discount can be granted in different situations. Prepare your mind by thinking of the different ideal outcomes. These situations differ vastly depending on the service or product you sell. Products may involve different volumes that create price breaks and services might entail how many additional hours can be put into a project.

Offering an avid fisherman or sportsman a weekend at the corporate luxury cabin may be a way to generate a sale if you can’t go lower on price or there are no additional discounts to be offered.

If you haven’t thought these types of scenarios out in advance, the simple concession that could have solidified the deal is never offered.

One of the worst things to do in a concession is to simply throw out a number. Most salespeople have been in a meeting where the buyer asks for a 20% deduction on the cost of the other order, and the sales rep replied that he or she could offer 10%. By automatically complying and, “meeting in the middle”, the sales rep has set the price lower, perhaps lower than where the buyer was aiming to take the deal.

A better option would be to suggest a smaller amount of a discount than half of what was requested. Perhaps offer a discount of an additional 2% over the next five orders or some other creative and compelling alternative. Another method would be to offer additional services/products that you would benefit the customer and your company can produce for a low-cost. This gives the customer something else to consider and also builds in the opportunity for additional sales at a small percentage that is well above your bottom line.

Related Article: General Negotiation Tactics to Help You in Life & Sales

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Without having clearly defined concessions in place, any sales rep can get caught up in the excitement of making a big sale and make a serious error in judgment. This can cause serious financial problems for your company that you will be held accountable for. You are the sales rep and this is your opportunity to responsibly develop profitable business for your organization. Your sales team leader will think of you as a go to when big deals come across the board if you can responsibly handle concessions.

Remember, this is a negotiation, and to negotiate both parties at the table must have the authority to make a decision that creates a desired win-win outcome.

If the sales rep doesn’t have a bottom line or doesn’t know what can be offered, the common solution is to call the sales manager. However, having to meet several times or make phone calls during a meeting distract from the flow of your sales process. This is a waste of time and can make you look dull to a point that could cause you to lose the sale. The buyer may think that if you don’t know enough about your product or service to negotiate than you aren’t taking your job or business seriously.

In the case that you don’t have the authority and can’t give an accurate and honest answer, it is best, to be honest. Tell your prospect that you cannot give him an accurate answer and you need to discuss the offer with one of your colleagues. Make it a point at this moment to take out your notepad or tablet and write the exact offer down and discuss it to the best of your ability to avoid going back and forth another time.

When you know your bottom line or the concessions you create opportunities the buyer may have not otherwise considered. This is another way to create a win-win based on your knowledge of the person across the table.

The ability to define and negotiate concessions is critical to successful sales negotiation. Without it, your ability to meet your quota will falter and you will miss out on sales opportunities that otherwise would have closed. Clearly defining concessions on the spot requires authority and superior knowledge of your products/services and cost/pricing structure. Sometimes it is necessary to go back and forth to ensure both parties are winning and your client feels fully serviced. Clearly defined concessions will help you negotiate with more power and will ultimately align the goals of your customers and your company.

 

Related Article: Learning How To Overcome Sales Objections