If sales were a boxing match, you could equate the second quarter of 2020 to a seasoned heavyweight champion who has been knocked to the canvas multiple times, and each time, continues to pull themselves up.
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If learning how to sell in the “next normal” isn’t difficult enough, there’s a new face at buying conversations these days that’s causing sellers to tear up the playbook and rewrite the conversation.
Swept up in the wave of unemployed Americans now out of work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are well-pedigreed people who have simply found themselves on the short end of the numbers game.
As you read this, businesses across the country are taking the first tentative steps toward “reopening” – though the definition of what constitutes this varies from company to company.
For a workforce that is used to earning more immediate dividends on their work, most sales professionals have been deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, their sales progress is measured in spoonfuls, rather than wheelbarrows. The sales cycle has been extended, and the traditional sales playbook, for many, has been torn up.
In the scramble to adapt to the so-called “new normal,” outcomes such as social distancing, working remotely, stock market volatility, spending cuts, and uncertainty have rendered useless the 2020 go-to-market plans for business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) companies alike.
When last we met, we discussed the importance of embracing change as a means of improving your sales throughput – and further, that integrating new sales strategies is an exercise rooted in patience, and not in quick fixes.
My particular interest around this topic, understandably, is based on observations I’ve made after years of leading our IMPACT Sales training program here at The Brooks Group.
My goal, then as in now, is simple: Get the Sales Training lessons to stick – PERMANENTLY. We’ve trained tens of thousands of sales professionals, and we find that most go charging out of the training room, ready to take on the world. But without a committed, top-to-bottom plan where change is supported and committed to for the long haul, it’s inevitable that the lessons become undone.
So, you’ve embraced the concept of consultative sales training; you understand your responsibility as a trusted advisor to be attentive and to put your client first, and you’re ready to take your new mandate to the field.
But, before you go charging into the unknown, one last question: Are you truly an expert on your client’s business and industry? I mean, have you REALLY taken the time to understand the landscape?
Consultative selling is not just the domain of the outside sales professional. In fact, if your entire organization is not focused on assisting the buyer in discovering their needs before pitching the deal, you’re missing a critical component to your contemporary sales approach.
There are many ways for things to just “happen, like magic,” with little or no effort. Take the Ouija board for example, which can reveal all with just a board and a pointy plastic device. Or the sleight of hand mysteries of magicians like Doug Henning, David Copperfield and Criss Angel, who have walked on water and made iconic landmarks appear and disappear. Heck, even the wave of a white-tipped black magic wand can often be enough to produce small items from thin air.