This week, I want to talk about the art and practice of selling, which has changed dramatically through the pandemic. Frankly, selling has gotten harder. We are seeing a level of exhaustion and fatigue in sellers and sales leaders that we hadn’t seen before. Michelle Richardson shared an article with me from the Harvard Business Review, which talks about change exhaustion, and I think just that expression emotes an understanding of what that concept is.
What we’re seeing is that sellers are faced with levels of uncertainty that they’ve never been faced with before. Most sellers take pleasure in pleasing, they like to be able to deliver what they promise, and they look forward to helping clients solve problems. That has all changed with inflation, supply chain issues, the employment issues. The world sellers live in today is much different than it was pre-pandemic, and it’s causing some of that change exhaustion, uncertainty, and a lack of confidence. We are seeing the impact right now. We’ve recently done a series of surveys with sales leaders. In the most recent one, we learned that 73% of sales leaders believe that they will miss their Q2 goals this year. This is having real-time impact on sales organizations and on companies.
So, what do we do about it?
I think that there are some tactical things we are starting to see that trace back to what we saw at the beginning of Covid. I believe, as sales leaders, here are five things that you can help your salespeople with today for a successful remainder of 2022.
- Teach sellers to sell on value. Value selling has become a buzzword we hear a lot, but it really is a core tenant to what a seller needs to be able to do.
- Sellers need to be able to have difficult conversations. I mentioned inflation and price increases, supply chain, and production delays. I believe a salesperson that is trained in having those kinds of conversations can actually use them to build trust with their clients right now.
- Salespeople need to be able to ask good questions. Good questioning also means they need to be good listeners. They can build rapport by asking good questions and they can get to the heart of the issue that a client is trying to solve.
- Sellers need to work on negotiations. We’re seeing that negotiation training is a critical skill that needs to be refined right now.
- Sellers need to practice solid fundamentals. Sellers need to have good pre-call planning exercises, and the ability to go into meetings well prepared. It may seem like those are really basic things, but when done right, that little bit of planning helps salespeople have the confidence they need to deal with the uncertain situations that they’re being faced with. They are better in uncomfortable situations.
I believe mastering these 5 things in today’s market will help salespeople be more successful and they can be implemented immediately. Good luck as you get ready for the rest of 2022.
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