PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS.
Like anything else, the best sales tactics are bound to change over time. What worked yesterday doesn’t necessarily work today, and the present “best practices” may be ineffective a year or two from now.
Salespeople must continually keep up with the changing trends and learn how to adapt to the modern consumer. To help you do this, we asked 16 members of Forbes Coaches Council to share their most important piece of advice for today’s salespeople and why it’s crucial for success. Here’s what they had to say.
Forbes Coaches Council members share their best advice for today’s modern salesperson.
1. Adopt A Selection Mindset
A selection mindset aligns customers to a company’s products and services. Knowing who you are targeting, why you are targeting them, what you are sharing with them and how you will connect with them will authentically ignite the selection process, dialogue and activity to close the sale. Selection eliminates the salesy feeling and provides a more realistic and developmental approach to sales. – Lori Harris, Harris Whitesell Consulting
2. Demonstrate Sincerity And Integrity In Your Interactions
The channels people use for communicating have changed dramatically in the last five years, but people themselves haven’t. They still value salespeople that demonstrate sincerity and integrity. It takes time to build strong relationships and every minute of it with customers will be worth it when you see the impact on your long-term revenue goals. Make your customers feel heard and understood. – Lynda Foster, Cortex Leadership ConsultingForbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches. Do I qualify?
3. Always Prioritize What’s Best For The Client
It’s more about what is best for the client than getting the sale just to say you have it. Selling something a customer doesn’t want or need does not serve you for future sales or customers. Awareness of what is said and not said will take you further. – Claudette Gadsden, Coach Claudette & Associates
4. Keep Up With Market Shifts And Current Events
Sales and market trends and business data change, and keeping up with them is critical to ensure that you are using the right sales tactics. Invest in speaking to your network, reading current events and news, learning new ways of doing things and understanding the market shifts going on. The more that you keep up with how things are moving, the more you will be able to change with the times. – Monica Thakrar, MTI
5. Foster Trust And Relationships Online
The modern salesperson needs to foster trust and relationships online. Communicate what sets you apart and how you make a difference through your online posts, comments, shares, articles, conversations and all social platforms. Everything that you do online creates your brand and it should help everyone learn about you, remember you and hopefully recommend you. – Lital Marom, UNFOLD Media Group
Yes, sales tactics change and technology brings opportunities to the “modern salesperson,” but knowing your customers and hearing what they need and want will never change. We live in increasingly complex times and loneliness increases as intimacy with our devices does too. Take time to directly connect with your clients and learn why your product or service is important to them. – Cindy Stack, Whole-Life Leader
7. Serve And Build Trust First
If you want your product or service to be the winner in your marketplace, stop focusing on tricks and hacks. Focus first on how you serve your audience well before they become your customer. What’s their pain? What can you offer them now, for free, to help build a trusted relationship and understand them even better? Serve first, build trust and then you’ll earn the opportunity to make your sale. – Darcy Eikenberg, PCC, Red Cape Revolution
8. Develop One-To-One Relationships
Many salespeople go for multiple prospects, each of them a small project to manage and close. Consider focusing instead on deeper one-to-one relationships that provide multiple prospects. When you develop these distribution channels, you speed up and multiply the volume of sales, while simplifying the complexity of relationships. You interact with fewer key relationships and generate more sales. – John Hittler, Evoking Genius
9. Think Human-To-Human
People buy on emotion and rationalize with logic. Know that you are selling to a human being with hopes, fears, aspirations and desires. Don’t stop at explaining your product’s features and benefits. The modern seller understands the customer’s emotional needs and will address those throughout the sales cycle. They create value that appeals to the customer on an emotional level: human to human. – Anita Nielsen, LDK Advisory Services
10. Keep It Simple And Sweet
Sales are about people, so authenticity is essential as prospects can discern that through nonverbal cues. Keeping it simple works best. The best way involves a two-step process. First, make a friend. If they like you they will speak with you and take you into their world. Trust follows as the second step, and that is something that is earned when you add value to your prospects’ lives. – Jorge Gutierrez, BMOC Group
11. Understand Why People Want To Do Business With You
It’s true: Relationships are everything in this global arena where we can do business with anyone at any time. Take the time to build relationships. Let people know who you are, and learn about them, as well. Determine why people want to do business with you specifically, then show them what you are all about. Be who you are, and let that come through in your message. – Michelle Barr, Michelle Barr
12. Continue Your Online Relationships Offline
Avoid relying too heavily on email and social media-driven relationship building. While outreach methods have evolved, human nature hasn’t, so ensure that you take everything you do online, offline. For instance, invite that connection you made on LinkedIn out to coffee. – Precious Williams Owodunni, Mountaintop Consulting
13. Build Rapport Through Warm Introductions
Our customers today are very savvy and often know exactly what they are looking for from their research. To be a successful salesperson, we need to build rapport before we promote ourselves. Try introducing yourself through a “warm introduction” by sharing helpful content or strategies in a blog or newsletter that targets your customer’s challenges. Offer solutions and set up a follow-up call. – Terri Klass, Terri Klass Consulting
14. Own Relationships With Decision-Makers
The core of relationships is building trust with each other over time. Today’s salesperson should own the relationships with the key decision-makers, no matter if there is a broader sales or support team helping on the engagement. Owning the relationship is like “holding the paper.” It gives you a ton of influence and leverage both now and in the future. – Karan Rhodes, Shockingly Different Leadership
15. Be An Inspiration, Not A Salesperson
Whatever you do outside of selling matters more than you think. Holistic success has nothing to do with meeting your sales goals, but a lot more to do with your impact on people and the world around you. If you’re going to be successful in sales today, you better be an all-around inspiration and not a “salesperson” at all. – Brian M Harman, PhD, MBA, Business Management Hallmark