The real question; “is it 2021 or just 2020+1?” Regardless of how this year plays out, we know one thing for certain; consumers no longer have the attention or energy to be dragged through long sales processes and multi-step closes. In my opinion, these tactics started to die years ago, but the pressures of 2020 finished the blow.
If you want to succeed in 2021 and build a sales team that drives results, consider these 3 tips.
The first impression is the most important. Of course, we’ve heard this before, but it can be hard to understand how this applies to a sales process. “First impressions” are not just logos and branding, they extend all the way into the negotiations, demos, and contract conversations between your prospect and your company.
The reason I specify to “focus on conversations before conversions,” is not because I believe you shouldn’t “sell” your customer. In fact, I believe quite the opposite—that people don’t mind being sold to, but people hate being sold to, poorly. I say “sell the customer!” But, do a great job of selling. I state this because the conversation is the beginning of the entire relationship. All too often I walk onto a sales floor just to hear great people push for an immediate close when someone is calling for information. They completely disregard the prospect’s requests, fail to identify the prospect’s needs, and improperly present the company’s product or service because they’re looking for one thing, and one thing only—the wallet, not the relationship.
“People don’t mind being sold to, but people hate being sold to, poorly.”
Starting with the conversation immediately reinforces two concepts. One, that you’re relational over transactional, meaning you care to be a point of value for the long-term and not just a one-sided grab for the customer’s credit card. And two, that you’re willing to listen to the prospect’s needs and identify the solution (product or service) that’s right for them, not just the sale that’s only right for your internal KPIs. A great way to start with conversations instead of conversions is to ask great questions:
“Should you move forward, what would you want your ‘best case scenario’ to look like?”
“In your opinion, what value would you need to see from [this product] in order to make [this financial commitment] a ‘no brainer’ decision for you?”
From there you make the sale, but now it’s with the prospect’s needs in mind, and not just your own.
I firmly believe “if you have to put a gun to someone’s head to part them from their wallet, that’s a robbery, not a close.” The ability of your sales team to achieve outstanding results is directly related to their ability to master objections. Every time a prospect complains about “not being interested” or “shopping around” or “needing to think about it,” and your sales staff doesn’t know how to rebuttal and move the conversation forward, is more money left on the table—and out of your P&L.
We’re big believers in mastering objections (in fact, we’ve dedicated an entire section of Obsessed Academy to this subject alone) and have seen firsthand the dramatic increases to productivity and profitability that occur when a team makes mastery a priority. Here are some great steps to making objection practice a part of your daily routine:
You will find that most sales trainers, managers, and team leaders focus all of their attention on “the close.” They muse about some magic lines you can say that convert your prospect from a “NO” to a “YES,” and reinforce antiquated concepts that don’t work with today’s consumer. By taking the time, energy, and resources required to identify—and master—the objections your staff hears on a daily basis, you will find increased conversion rates, higher levels of customer loyalty, and happier salespeople. After all, who doesn’t want to grow their bottom line and help others in the process?
Every time I see a winning sales team, I recognize total ownership and responsibility; consistently winning in your market doesn’t happen by accident. In order for your sales team to achieve stellar numbers in 2021, you must develop a culture that keeps your people mission-driven, acutely focused on clearly-defined goals, and accountable. That culture begins with your daily routines and core values.
Even if you’re self-employed or run a small operation, focusing on your culture and communication is vital. For example, here at OA, each day begins with a “check-in” and ends with a “check out” meeting. These meetings are 10-minutes long and are built to start and end each workday with certainty. Employees check in with their task lists, KPIs, foreseeable hurdles, and other necessary activities to complete that day. It’s a way to reinforce certainty, keep employees accountable for their activities and goals, and help the company forecast and manage resources. (Our conference season, for example, takes significantly more people power to operate than Obsessed Academy coursework. We need to know that forecast in order to take responsibility for the work and deploy the necessary resources required to accomplish the mission.)
The “check out” meetings achieve a similar goal; employees quickly recap their daily wins, hurdles, and address what’s outstanding. It’s black and white; you either hit your KPIs for the day or didn’t. If you did, great! Let’s do it again. If you didn’t, what specifically led you to fail, and how are you able to adjust to win tomorrow? Remember: once is a mistake, twice is a decision.
This mentality allows the team to recognize they must have clarity on their KPIs and goals in the morning and will be immediately accountable for achieving them in the afternoon. There is very little room to slide into complacency with such structures in place.
For your core values, the first step is defining the guiding principles you wish your team to adhere to. Do you believe a profit-first mentality is important? How about speed? Once identified, you must define these principles with a single word. Those words are your core values.
The concept is simple; how do you expect your team to hit your targets if you haven’t established the guides to actually hit them? Even if you’re a “solopreneur” and enjoy working without a large team, core values are still important; they will allow you to build stronger referral relationships, strategic partnerships with other businesses and professionals in your market, and guide how you identify and retain your clients.
We believe this concept is so important, that we’re launching a class on developing core values in your business in February. Available exclusively to members, sign up or book a demo of OA if you are interested in this training.
As stated by law, Obsessed Academy cannot and does not make any guarantees about your individual or company’s ability to get results or earn any money with Obsessed Academy’s ideas, information, programs or strategies. Nothing on this page or in any of Obsessed Academy’s workshops, courses, groups, websites or emails is a promise or guarantee of future earnings. Any financial numbers referenced here, or on any of Obsessed Academy’s sites, emails, or social media are simply estimates or projections or past results, and should not be considered exact, actual, or a promise of potential earnings. All numbers are illustrative only.