A new way of selling: How to build trust and close more deals
Fed up with leads that never convert? It’s time to trust in a new way of selling. Here’s how to improve your sales process and close more deals.
The top 20% of salespeople account for more than 50% of an organisation’s revenue. Very few organisations actually understand what it is that their top performers are doing right, and less than a quarter analyse them to find out.
There’s a more efficient way to sell. And it involves building trust.
When B2B buyers are asked to characterise salespeople, a handful of positive terms (‘friendly’, ‘trusted’, ’knowledgeable’) are drowned out by a tidal wave of pejorative terms (‘pushy’, ‘annoying’, ‘greedy’, ‘selfish’, ‘aggressive’, ‘dishonest’, ‘arrogant’).
If you look at the traditional sales process, it isn’t too hard to see where this impression comes from. We as salespeople often create the conditions for deals falling through, giving a bad impression even if we’re nailing our ethics.
The Harvard Business Review stated “the majority of behaviours that salespeople engage in hinder the likelihood of a sale.”
Is this true? Let’s take a look.
The problem’s in the process
In a lot of businesses, the sales process isn’t optimised. And patchy sales processes cause problems. Haphazard prospecting and poor marketing inevitably result in a lack of real opportunities to follow up.
But lead generation alone is not to blame. Often, traditional sales methods cause issues. The usual first step when following up a prospect is to pitch or probe.
A pitch involves immediately launching into the sell: your service, discounts, benefits, company values and so on. A probe immediately starts asking about pain points, barriers, and challenges.
But as tried and tested as these approaches are, for some prospects they create a bad relationship that cannot be salvaged. The prospect doesn’t yet know the salesperson. There’s no trust established. Yet the salesperson assumes it’s ok to ask a barrage of questions or to present a stream of information without first establishing interest.
Faced with this onslaught from a stranger, prospects can feel pressured and objections rise to the surface. This pushes your back against the wall, leaving you with only one way out: the hard close (which tends to shut doors).
Sign up to our newsletter
The best of our blog, direct to your inbox once a week.
The new way of selling
But there is a better way of selling.
You know your business is awesome. And you are, no doubt, awesome yourself. But unless you provide the customer with real value from the outset, then very quickly they can start to believe you are wasting their time, flogging them something they have no need for.
When it comes to your sales process, if you can’t describe it in a few simple steps, then you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Embracing this new way of selling will help you build trust and close more deals.
Your all new sales process…
Step one: Insight
Your sales process shouldn’t start with a pitch or a probe, but with an insight you can clearly demonstrate.
Step two: Disqualify
Then comes the disqualification process, ensuring you sell only to those interested and able to buy.
Step three: Solve
And finally, still refraining from pitching, probing, presenting, or persuading, you demonstrate clearly that your solution can solve the customer’s unique problem.
Lose the pitch and find the fit
Fit is more important than interest. So drop the pitch.
Your job isn’t to generate interest, but to find a good fit. Your PowerPoint presentation – however pretty – won’t help you do this.
Your buyer isn’t looking for a salesperson. 79% of buyers say they want a trusted advisor who adds value to their business – not a sales rep. So find the fit, and the buyer will find the value.
Hold back on that probe
If you haven’t added value through insight, you haven’t earned the right to start probing into the nitty gritty of their business or role.
Probing too early doesn’t signal your interest – it brands you as an annoyance. Insight is the key to opening up prospects and gaining the credentials to probe. Share insight first, and then the real conversations can begin.
Any time spent with a prospect that’s a bad fit is time wasted.
Nearly three-quarters of salespeople found that less than half of their prospects were actually a good fit, so the quicker you can filter these out, the more time you’ll have to close realistic deals.
Stop presenting – start solving
Most prospects couldn’t give a flying fig about how you present the features and benefits of your product/service.
What they do care about is how you can solve the unique challenges that they face. 88% of buyers think salespeople don’t understand their problems enough to be able to solve them
So how can you convince buyers that you ‘get it’? Case studies are your secret weapon. Showing your best and most relevant customer success stories will demonstrate the reality of how you can help, and will set you apart from the competition.
Close with 3 killer questions
How much is your challenge costing you?
Your value to prospects is directly related to the impact of the challenges that they face. For example, if the challenge is costing them £1m, then a solution that costs £100,000 is money well spent.
Is solving the challenge a priority for you right now?
You need to know how serious a prospect is about solving their challenge right now. If it’s not a priority, you’re better off focusing elsewhere.
What would you like to do next?
When the discovery process is over, you need to understand exactly where the prospect is, in terms of their desire to work with you. This question places the prospect in the driving seat and positions them to close the sale for you.
Trust in the new way of selling. Bring value, not pitches, and you’ll see an improved sales process with more deals closed.