“Be different.” It might not sound like the Churchillian speech you were hoping for from the sales training world to help you get the year off to the brightest start possible. But in 2013 when it comes to creating and delivering effective selling strategies, finding new and alternative ways to prospect and close deals will be essential.
Some of you will be pushing the boundaries already, some will have the ideas to implement, and some will, unfortunately, be hoping that the same old ways of winning business and hitting targets will be good enough. It won’t.
For those who fall into the first two categories, let us give you a small window into the future, because here at Natural Training we are convinced that the following three shifts WILL feature in your ‘be different’ plans for 2013 – you just might not know it yet:
1. Becoming a Domain Expert
Domain Experts have a deep understanding of their product or service, and the best sales professionals in 2013 will be making moves to become such experts. As the competition for new customers is getting fiercer and fiercer, what will set you apart from your rivals? Perhaps more importantly, what gives you your edge? Remember, information on products and services is at the fingertips of the consumer these days, so being able to demonstrate knowledge that goes beyond a top ten Google search and actually puts you in the driving seat will be essential. At Natural Training we predict that the best sales professionals will attend relevant seminars, launch parties and networking events to expose themselves to the kind of information that their customers could simply never reach. Give your customers some knowledge that they won’t access anywhere else – they will love you for it!
2. Speed up the sales cycle
Once upon a time speeding up the sales cycle meant calling your prospects twice as many times to ask if they’ve seen your proposal yet, basically asking: “Are you ready to buy now?” Today the need to keep momentum, contact and interest in your proposal is just as important as ever before, but it is crucial that sales professionals find more exciting and creative ways to do this. Relentless phoning simply isn’t the answer. Instead, sales professionals will become experts at guiding their prospects towards saying ‘yes’. Some will simply make sure that there are no potential barriers blocking the sale, while others will introduce smaller steps to maintain movement in the sale and slowly but surely encourage their prospects down the sales pipeline.
A great tip…
If getting in front of your key contact or decision maker is becoming harder and harder, why not leverage your ability to build relationships (all sales people should be networking geniuses) and spread your contact base to multiple locations throughout your target business? Don’t rely on one person to be in when you call or try to arrange meetings, get yourself known across the company to make sure the sales cycle can be hurried along by more than one person. Click here to request a special Natural Training report called BITE that will help you achieve deeper and wider account penetration. Click here.
3. Generate 15% more new business leads via LinkedIn
The development of online technology presents the sales professional with significant opportunities to make money. In 2013 LinkedIn will become even more of a faithful servant to the sales industry.
Here are three specific ways that LinkedIn will be integrated into selling strategies to generate at least 15% more sales in 2013:
– Answers: The LinkedIn ‘Answers’ tool gives sales professionals a platform to demonstrate their knowledge on particular topics (remember, becoming a Domain Expert will be crucial this year). In the Answers section of LinkedIn you can offer answers to your ‘community’ and even be in with the chance of being included in the ‘Top Expert’ list. What Answers also does is give you the chance to see what kind of challenges your target market is facing right now, enabling you to develop a solution that works.
– Generate a buzz: How will you stand out from the crowd this year? One way is to make whatever it is you’re selling more exciting and engaging. A great way to do this is by writing a series of blogs and articles linking current and ‘trending’ topics to your product or service. So, if you sell HR software and the top news story of the day is ‘HMRC lose thousands of confidential staff records’, you can write a response blog: ‘Why HMRC will be buying HR software in the morning’. Then, leverage the networks that LinkedIn creates by sharing your blog with your community. Grow profile and generate excitement around your products. You can even share it in relevant groups and follow prospects up to see if they saw the link.
– Join and create groups: Groups are becoming more and more popular on LinkedIn and the best-selling strategies for 2013 will not only target a large number of groups to be a part of but also bring some exciting ideas and resources to those groups. Using the search function, sales professionals can pick and choose the groups that will be most beneficial to them, or even start their own groups. Imagine having 50 prospects in a group, and being able to engage with them every day by sharing best practice and resources from your industry. You can target prospects by joining the same groups as them or invite them into your groups. Either way this is one LinkedIn feature that provides just the platform to help you get closer to your target market.
These three shifts in behaviour are all motivated by the fundamental need to be different in an increasingly competitive business environment. Why are they so important in 2013? Because they all represent a step in the right direction for the modern sales professional and, more importantly, a step away from the traditional sales practices that simply don’t yield results today.
Which of these do you expect to implement first in 2013?
Get in touch with the Natural Training sales training team on 0207 043 1582 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about the sales strategies we have developed with our clients. Remember, you can also download free chapters from the Natural Training book The Natural Sales Evolution by clicking here.