Today's sales climate has ungone major changes which means sales people need to change their approach and methodologies. Here are seven reasons you need to upgrade your sales approach.
Today’s business world has changed significantly. Buying decisions that used to take a few days can now take weeks, sometimes months. Decision makers and buyers have changed the way they manage their operations. And business has become more complex. This all means that it is critical that you upgrade your selling skills if you want to achieve long-term success in your sales career. Here are seven reasons you need to upgrade your selling skills.
1. The business climate has changed. In the last few years the business world has dramatically changed. Companies are leaner which means employees need to accomplish more with fewer resources. The decision making process often takes much longer than it used to. And, the people you deal with and sell to, are much busier. See point 5 for more detail on this.
2. Selling is becoming more difficult. If you are like many sales people, you have probably discovered that selling is more challenging than ever. It is more difficult to connect with executives and decision makers. It is more challenging to stand out from the competition. Products often change with increasing frequency which makes it more difficult to stay current. The volume of information you have to retain and manage can be overwhelming. And the number of accounts you have to juggle is likely taxing too.
3. Your customers and prospects are more savvy. Buyers are immune to tired, outdated sales tactics that manipulate people into making buying decisions. I’m not suggesting that you use these tactics; however, they have caused corporate decision makers to paint all sales people with the same brush. If your voice mail message sounds anything remotely like the others your contact hears, then you are destined for failure. If your presentation sounds like everything else they have heard, you will not close the sale.
4. What used to work is no longer as effective. A generic presentation that starts with an overview of your company, your position in the market place, the organizations that you have worked with, or the awards that you have won, simply doesn’t cut it anymore. I actually don’t know if this approach was ever very effective but I know for certain that it doesn’t work in today’s new economy.
5. Aversion to risk has increased. Many buyers have been burned over-zealous sales people who made false promises and unrealistic claims. People have purchased products and solutions that failed to achieve the desired results. They have signed agreements only to discover that the system they wanted required an unexpected investment of time and money. And they have made decisions that caused them embarrassment.
6. Key decision makers are busier than ever. Five years ago it used to take 6-8 calls to connect with a senior level decision maker. Now, it can take as many as 15 attempts. A typical executive has more than 40 hours of unfinished work on their desk at any given time. An average of 150 emails clog their in-box and they constantly have to deal with changing priorities. One executive I know said, “I can’t possible talk to a sales person because I already have too many projects on the go.” Another told me, “Just when I think I can’t get any busier, I do.”
7. Competition has increased. Virtually every industry has seen an explosion of competition. Low-cost products manufactured and shipped from overseas to local competitors trying to carve a slice of market share from you. This increase—and change—in competition means you need to improve your sales skills so you can position your product more effectively.
The majority of top performing sales people invest time and money in their personal development. They read books, listen to audio programs and they attend conferences and online events to improve and fine-tune their skills. If their company doesn’t sponsor or fund this development, they use their own money because they know that they will always get a return on this investment.
If you want to succeed in today’s business world and enjoy a long-term career in sales, it is essential that you constantly upgrade your selling skills. I don’t know who originally stated this quote but it is certainly applicable to this topic, “If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have gotten.”