Times have changed. But for sales trainers who have been at it for years, some things remain the same. Here are some fundamental sales truths I have learned in my career:
1. Sales requires that you get up close and personal. You simply cannot hide behind email or expect social media to do the work for you. You goal is not to become an order taker of the first degree. (Don’t get me wrong: Sitting back and taking orders sounds awfully fantastic, but it is not sustainable.) To really succeed in sales, you need to get out there.
2. Sales requires that you maintain a robust pipeline filled with prospects at various stages of the buying cycle. Only three prospects in your pipeline? Well, then, your close ratio had better be fabulous and those prospects had better account for some sizable revenue. Fill your pipeline, and do it intelligently and strategically with qualified prospects.
3. You must know what makes you different. I can’t say this enough. Telling a prospect that you are better makes them defensive. Explaining what makes you different and showing how these points of difference equate to an improvement — well, that’s a compelling approach.
4. It’s time to accept the new normal. Salespeople today work harder than they did just a few years ago. It is taking longer and longer for prospects to commit to smaller and smaller deals. That’s the way it is, so you might as well get used to it. Figure out your economies of scale so that you can make the most of your sales efforts.
5. Marketing is an essential starting point. Marketing helps lay the foundation for great salespeople to go out and win business. But make no mistake about it: Marketing alone does not win business. If you are engaging in a major marketing and branding campaign without giving adequate thought to your sales processes, sales competencies and touch-point management plan, then you are probably wasting your time.
The profession of sales has evolved. But you can adapt to your new sales environment and become an even better salesperson than you are today.
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Adrian Miller is the founder of Adrian Miller Sales Training. To find out more or to visit her blog go to http://adrianmiller.wordpress.com.