Does old school selling work today?
In the new era of online selling, the question we’re discussing more and more frequently – does old school selling methods still work today? With the migration of business to the Internet, companies are focused on new opportunities for promoting and selling their products and services through web-sites, social media, network ads, emailing campaigns etc. However, they are also faced with a new reality of challenges: sales became less aggressive - customers decide when and how they want to communicate; sales reps are no longer the main keepers of the information - customers can easily find and compare different opinions and make decisions based on their personal experience and awareness; sales reps step in to the deal later and can’t drive the sales process from the beginning – customers research information about the product they need and go to the company when the decision is almost made.
But some things never change – anyway you need to convince the customer to buy your product. Even with new powerful marketing and customer engaging tools, the middle man remains one of the most influential links in the chain of the sales process.
So in fact, traditional sales are not in a hurry to give up their positions with most sales tactics in B2B still applying, but often in a totally new way. You should re-consider them if you want to succeed and close more deals!
1. Build relationships.
Build long-term relationships when you stay in touch with customers and can provide them with essential information and assistance. Whether you’ve sold them something or not, you can contact your customer regularly and provide valuable information, like helpful tips and advice on your product, share news and other useful insight.
2. Use referrals.
Referrals can help you to build strong personal connections with new prospects, so invest into developing a pool of loyal customers, which you can ask about recommendations or demoing of your products. With referrals you can save a lot of time needed for generating new leads, qualifying them, following up etc. to make them sales ready. Asking customers about referrals, writing success stories and publishing them should be part of your sales culture.
3. Follow up customers.
Nothing has changed here, except that we more often send emails for following up with our clients instead of making telephone calls or holding meetings in-person. This interaction channel seems more convenient for both sides, but don’t make a mistake – your purpose is to get a response from your customer which email can’t guarantee, so try different channels to reach out to your client and get a response.
Successful sales reps always know how their customers are doing and on what stage of the decision making they are on.
4. Provide solutions.
In B2B opportunities you can’t avoid personal interaction because you need to solve customer problem, not just sell you product. You need to get from the customers their story and discover all of their problem areas to provide the right solution. The ability to listen and analyze will serve you well, so here you can use traditional tactics for preparing your calls and meetings with customer and positioning yourself as an expert who can truly understand the customer’s problem and help them find a solution.
5. Gather information.
It’s true that we now have powerful digital tools to gather information about customers – their web activities, real time behavior, email openings and click- through analytics, social media profiles and connections, communication history etc. Having all this information doesn’t mean that you can easily convert the lead into an opportunity or immediately win the deal. It’s just useful insight that can help you come up with a targeted solution and build the right sales strategy to sell your product to the right people. Don’t neglect building a power map – this opportunity diagram shows all relationships between power-players inside the customers company together with their attitude towards your product/solution. Most CRM systems provide this tool together with Pipeline Management or inside SFA.
Together with the mastering of new sales tools, which will help you to sell more in the digital era, you must not forget about traditional sales methods and experience. Many experts and research indicates that in the new age professional salespeople are more important than ever and the future belongs to those who can combine old sales methods and experience with new technologies and better meet customer’s needs!