There’s no better time to set a new goal than the start of a new year. Forget those generic resolutions that you usually break. Instead, commit yourself to success in every sales conversation you have this year.
Here are ten sales resolutions you can make right now to improve your sales conversations in 2014.
1. Prepare for Your Meeting
When you’ve been selling for a long time, it’s easy to get lazy. Don’t underestimate the importance of preparation when it comes to your sales conversations. First, define the great outcomes for the meeting and then, remember the 3Ps:
- The Purpose – the goal of the meeting
- The Process – define how the time will be spent
- The Payoff – the relevant and tangible benefits that will pique the prospect’s interest
2. Earn Trust in the Sales Process
Earning trusted advisor status is pivotal for sellers who want to consistently hit their quotas, while continuing to win repeat business and referrals. When you first engage a prospect, one of the best ways to earn trust is to “go in curious.” Ask questions that demonstrate your willingness to understand your prospects’ business, and listen to the answers. Use them to help your buyer make the business case for your solution, and you’ll earn trust in the sales process.
3. Be Audible-Ready
If you want to command your message, you have to be audible-ready. When you call a meeting, make sure you’re prepared to ask the right questions, listen for customer problems, and guide the conversation in a way that demonstrates your ability to solve them. You never know who is going to be in the room, or where their mindset is going to be when you show up for the meeting. Always be audible-ready to articulate your value and differentiation in ways that speak to your customer’s biggest business problems.
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4. Uncover Pain with Effective Discovery
There is no value without a customer problem. Finding the problem is the first step to winning the business. Uncover your customer’s most pressing challenges by asking the right questions. Remember, opportunities are won and lost on effective discovery.
What is the business impact of your customer’s pain points? Is it $500,000? A million-dollars? Is the company throwing money down the drain every day? Identify the pain and find the business impact. Once you uncover pain with effective discovery, you can better articulate how your solution can alleviate the negative consequences your customer is currently experiencing.
5. Articulate Value and Differentiation
Effectively articulating the value and differentiation of your products and services can make or break a deal. Commit yourself to demonstrating the value you provide your customer, articulating how you are different and better than your competition, and proving your ability to help them achieve the positive business outcomes that have bottom-line impact. Your buyers will appreciate your ability to help them solve their business problems and achieve the positive business outcomes they’re trying to achieve.
6. Get to the C-Suite
Remember, as a seller you are delegated to whom you sound like. Selling higher in an organization is an important goal for many salespeople. Speaking about your solution (its value and differentiation) in a way that solves C-Level business issues is a critical step to improving margins and increasing your average deal size. Gaining access to the C-Suite and its discretionary income means you need to attach your solution to the issues that warrant focus from these high-level executives.
7. Steer Clear of Persuasion
No one wants to be told why they should buy your product or service, among them your potential customers. The more you try to persuade them to buy, the more they will resist you. But the more they understand how your value and differentiation solve their problems, the more they will persuade themselves that you have the right solution for them. Avoid persuasion. Let your customer do the convincing.
8. Focus on Customer Verifiable Outcomes
Customer Verifiable Outcomes indicate your customer’s “buying” state-of-mind. They may include things like:
- Documented pain points
- Implications of the customer’s current situation
- Knowledge the organization is ready to invest resources
Using Customer Verifiable Outcomes as criteria in your sales process earns you the right to advance the opportunity to the next stage of the buying process. As a result, you’re better able to verify areas where they would otherwise be guessing. If you can determine these benchmarks, you’re less likely to waste time on deals that won’t happen.
9. Take Credit for the Value You Provide
It is critical to create and capture value throughout the sales process, but also after the opportunity has closed. Understanding the role your solution played in achieving the positive business outcomes will help you in cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.
What were the before scenarios? How did you contribute to the after scenario?
When you articulate the positive business outcomes your prospects are trying to achieve, make sure you take credit for the role your solution played in solving those same problems in the past. Own the success. Take credit for the value you provide.
Without your solution, can they solve that problem?
10. Capture the Proof
Proof points are a key component to taking credit for the value you provide. They make your sales process easier. A seller’s biggest asset, when trying to show value and differentiation, is providing the proof of prior success. Without a doubt, your buyer will pay more for a proven record of success. That’s why your proof points are so important. Focus on gathering key proof points from your customers this year. They will help you capture value, differentiate, and close more opportunities.