Welcome back to Fly’s Friday Five.
Today, I’ll be discussing the fundamentals of selling. The reason I want to talk about the fundamentals of selling is because of what we are seeing out in the marketplace. A few weeks ago, I mentioned “5 Keys to Winning in Today’s Selling Environment.” The macros events occurring right now are really driving the need for sellers to have some key behaviors in their arsenal. One of the 5 keys is to return to the fundamentals of selling.
So, what are the fundamentals of selling and why does it make sense now?
We’ve seen several things going on in the marketplace, one is employee issues. Sales teams are different than they were two years ago. You have new players on the team, you may have new people in their roles or in different roles and they’ve been there for a short period of time. Sales leadership may have changed, so it’s possible that the whole dynamic within the team has changed. Oftentimes, they may not have been fully trained on their current responsibilities, or team members may not be at the same point in their development. Additionally, there could be confusion around the process inside of an organization.
Secondly, sellers have experienced whiplash. Most sellers that are in the manufacturing world had no product to sell for months or even years. Now, all of a sudden, they’re starting to get the product. They’re going back out in the field and there’s been a change in behavior.
I recently had a conversation with a group of manufacturers, and they’ve noticed an interesting thing inside of their businesses. They indicated revenue is up, which sounds good, right? But the actual number of pieces they are sending out is down. While the top line looks good, it’s just driven by price increases and inflation, which won’t last so they’ve recognized the need to still sell more. All those things really come together in a way that I believe suggests that the selling fundamentals need to be in place, and that now is the time to use good selling fundamentals to sell your way through the current tough environment.
What does that mean? What are the fundamentals needed?
- Every organization needs to have a sales process. This allows sales leaders to coach to a standard, and it allows you to monitor progress towards the end goal. It gives your team a common way to discuss the status of a sale. Having a process in place is just half of the equation. Your team also needs to understand and use it.
- Each seller needs to understand their personal communication style and be able to bring that into the conversations they’re having with their clients. And in turn, they need to understand their clients’ styles as well.
- Sellers should be prepared. Pre-call planning is still important. Understanding your client in their current environment is still important. Reading public disclosures from your client is still important, but being prepared is critical.
- Sellers and leaders need to communicate clearly. We’ve talked about the need to be able to deliver bad news, but you need to do it in a way that the client understands. You need to be proactive in your communication
- You need to work to understand your client’s pain. That’s a point we’ve made time and time again. I’ll go back to the example I just shared with the manufacturing friend of mine with increased revenue but a lower number of pieces. His problem is that his sellers need to sell more items. That’s his real pain. I have another acquaintance from Vistage, and we were recently talking about his need to increase inventory levels so that they can have product on hand. What that has done is drive cash down. The cost of having product on hand leaves his cash balance down and that is his pain. Your clients may be experiencing a different pain than what you’ve experienced with them in the past, and a good salesperson needs to understand that pain.
I believe those five key selling fundamentals are critical right now as you work to sell your way through this current flux.