21st Century Sales Tactics To break free of the 20th Century Doldrums Darla Walker 1/27/2012Historically, the transition from one century to the next seems to accompany the dawn of significantcultural shifts. As we transitioned from the 20th to the 21st Century, the surge of technologicaladvances increased to a pace of change never before seen in the human history. The technologyshifts changed the way we live – and the way we sell products and services in the 21st Century.
Some things are pretty much the sameWhy people buy things hasn’t changed much Consumers buy to satisfy wants and desires; Businesses buy to satisfy needs.More than ever before, the 21st Century Ad Salesperson must discover and satisfy their businesscustomers’ advertising, promotional and marketing needs – and then develop campaigns toencourage consumers to satisfy their wants & desires with your advertisers’ products & services.That’s the way it should have been, but too much last century selling involved a lot of pushy sellingand a lot of schmoozing on the softer side. In the cold light of the 21st Century psyche, the wholespectrum of 20th Century sales tactics – as actually applied with the customer – was more about theseller and the seller’s product than about their needs, wants or desires. That must change because:How Businesses Buy has Changed Dramatically More Informed Purchases – But too much info. Be their specialist & help them sort it out. 24/7 we are tied to a web that contains most of the knowledge on the planet. Prospects know more about ads than 20th century businesses, because info is more accessible. Problem is: There is TOO MUCH info. They need someone to help them sort through it. Faster pace – BUSY! – Be organized and focused on their needs. Businesses make more decisions and get more requests for action on phones, email, social networks, etc. The impact of technology makes us all feel that we have less time and less efficiency than ever before. Fewer people are willing to spend the time for the “social courtesy” of setting a poorly qualified meeting with you. Fewer helpers – BUSY! – Give a helpful reason to meet. Because of the slower economy, the impact of technology and globalization, people have fewer helpers, assistants and secretaries. That means they actually ARE busier! They are often answering the phone, and they have no patience for the self-serving sales call. They want to know why they should see you (how you can help them). More people calling – more options – more competition – Use tools & templates. With so much demand on our time, we look for convenience tools and summarized recommendations. Cater to the convenience trend. Show features comparison lists and get them involved in working on worksheet to engage them and to PARTNER in the decision. Less tolerance for the Company Spokesperson – Too BUSY! – Be their expert partner. Disintermediation is another way the 21st Century is far different from the last. People buy all kinds of ads online without any salesperson intervention – even display ads in print. Over time, there will be more of it – but more options, too. People will look to specialized experts who can help them with the decisions and buys.
21st Century Business is more SocialBusinesses and consumers get information about products and services from millions of commercialinternet sites as well as content sites catering to specific industries and market segments.For today’s decision makers, it’s only a partial view without using the data that has exploded out ofthe new social aspects of our culture and our way of doing business.Today, even business had better attend to facebook and google+ and yelp and linkedin and all kindsof mobile apps. Business decision makers and consumers of all kinds are posting opinions all overthe web – and those opinions are valuable information for decision-making.Your customers, too, talk to others about services that they liked – and those they didn’t like somuch. Sometimes that conversation may include your advertising products and services.Your customers look for advertising products that get good reviews. They use other businessowner’s recommendations as a valuable decision making tool, because they trust the information.3 of the basic steps to get in step with social business of 21st century: 1. Be social with your customers on facebook, linkedin and/or twitter – you can set the level of privacy and sharing to be different among professional and more personal friends. 2. Get testimonials for good results campaigns and good customer service to show potential advertisers – that also can be posted on your company’s facebook page. Deal with challenges promptly and professionally. Ask for referrals – always. 3. Encourage your advertisers to feature their “top rated” products and services in both their print and online advertising for better results/ROI.Learn how social media are affecting the local advertising landscape as partof your advertising expertise. Customer Stories campaign drove 13,000 new prospects for La-Z-Boy. (La-Z-Boy, 2009) Products with syndicated reviews convert 26% higher. (Bazaarvoice Case Study, 2009) Shoppers who browsed the sites new "Top Rated Products" page, which features products rated most highly by customers, had a 59% higher conversion rate than the site average and spent 16% more per order than other browsers of products. (Bass Pro Shops, June 2008) Consumers were willing to pay between 20 to 99% more for a 5-star rated product than for a 4-star rated product, depending on the product category. (comScore/Kelsey, October 2007)From email advertising to mobile to video to social media and ways yet to be invented, keep up withthe advertising trends that can help your advertisers succeed. Be a trusted advisor and partner.
Your Client is adapting to BIG changes inthe way we do businessAnd it’s changing their expectations – They want to partner with the expert. They are savvier about products and sales tactics. They want Dialogue not monologue Their world is high stress enough – at least 75% of prospects will be put off by pushy tactics. Collaborate – don’t push Businesses like to use easy tools and analysis to make informed buys. They want Interactivity, templates, tools and feedback Businesses are overwhelmed by the number of people who call for appointments. Differentiate to stand out from the crowd o On “commodities” If several competing publications sell display ads, differentiate yours by supporting a claim of better customer service, for example (Or differentiate with your specialized expertise.) o Differentiate with unique features that only your company offers. (Make it easy to compare.) Email blasts or day parted banner ads, etc. – if you have them and others don’t, be sure to stress it as a competitive advantageHone your skills to be one of the best To stand out from the crowd Your clients may get dozens of sales calls a week. They can’t see them all – and don’t want to. To be selected for a meeting, you must show that you are in tune with results for your clients and that you have worked solutions for clients much like the prospect. To keep your job Employers will become increasingly selective about the salespeople they employ. You must become one of the best with a record of high sales and high customer retention rates to prove it.Let’s look at the questioning and negotiating communication skills of the 21stCentury Salesperson.
21st Century Sales QuestionsTypes of Questions Ask open-ended, indirect questions Listen to & clarify all points Identify the main needs & gain agreement Assure them you want them to get the most valueYour Attitude“I want to ask questions that will set you up for what I want to sell.”Versus“I want to get information so I can understand if you have needs I can satisfy.”Don’t ask them directly. Let them tell you. The more they talk about it, the more they develop aninner tension and need to solve it.Work on it together – while you’re with the prospect – that’s 21st Century Selling!From "Integrity Selling for the 21st Century"
Questions to Match Buyer’s StyleBuyer StylesRecently, I heard a trainer say that she didn’t believe in personality typing because she finds pigeon-holing people offensive. The point of casual personality typing is really to be considerate – not to beintrusive. Even more today, customers expect to be approached on their terms in ways they feelcomfortable with. Consider the quadrant analysis types that I use in my own client communications:Expressive StyleThe Expressive is outgoing, with a high energy level. They enjoy talking about ideas, but may not havethe ability to see the idea through to completion. They are particularly fond of socializing. They areusually slow to reach a decision. It’s best to get them to express what they feel about yourrecommendations to try to find ways to move the sale along. If you ask, they’ll tell what they need.Driver StyleDrivers thrive on the thrill of the challenge and the internal motivation to succeed. Drivers focus ongetting results. They can do a lot in a very short time. They usually talk fast, direct and to the point.Often viewed as decisive, direct and pragmatic – but they must feel convinced the solution is right.They respond to well-organized statement of “needs” with bullet-point features & solutions.Analytical StyleAnalytical people are usually systematic, well organized and deliberate. They like data andinformation presented in a logical manner to support your business discussion. They enjoy detailedtasks. They may be seen as too cautious, overly structured and slow to act, but they will not buy ifyou can’t accommodate their need for information to prove your case and support their decision.Amiable StyleThe Amiable style wants to be friends and wants to know who else is using your solutions or doingbusiness with you. They like non-threatening, non-confrontational meetings and decision routines.They are turned off by data-driven presentations. They are usually quick to reach a decision, whenthey feel emotionally supported. They are completely wishy-washy when not emotionally in tune. Type of Buyer Typical Question Expressive – Tells you what he thinks & feels How do you feel about this solution? Driver – Needs to feel confident about solution. What do you need that isn’t happening now? Analytical – Needs logical support & data How do you figure ROI on your ads now? Amiable – Needs low risk, proved solutions What has worked for you in the past?Listen for the gap between what they want and what they have – there’s the need to satisfy.
Negotiating Differences(Answering Objections)When the prospect and salesperson have worked collaboratively toward the close, there are fewer ofthe traditional “objections”. Most points will have come out already in the process of hammering outa possible solution or two.Today’s sales professional sees the challenges that come up as opportunities to problem-solve withthe client and to focus them on solutions rather than on the problem. This way of “answeringobjections” or dealing with any dissatisfaction is transparently collaborative.3 Ways to Open Dialogue and Discourage Active Resistance 1. Restate your understanding of the challenge and reframe the situation for solutions: “Sounds like we need to do some problem-solving now. Let’s look at some solutions…” 2. Tell a true business story that is pertinent to the situation about when you & a client resolved a similar concern to the client’s satisfaction and benefit. 3. Draw the client’s attention to a work sheet (can be 8 ½ x 11 yellow pad) or iPad or laptop screen where you work on a solution together. Two working on the same thing makes a bond.Today’s clients are turned off by approaches designed to: Win them over – That’s a win for sales position and a loss for client position. Convince them they’re wrong – Who likes to be proved wrong? Focus on convincing them – They consider their viewpoint legitimate. Focus on the end result too early – They need relationship focus early on.Too often they hear self-serving closes like this: “I’m sure you agree this is a great program forgetting more customers, so let’s get started next week.”Today’s clients respond to approaches designed to: Listen to them describe their customer development needs. Solve the mutually targeted problem Focus on helping the customer from his/her perspective Focus on the front-end of the process – on building a partnership of trust and collaboration.They are less likely to completely push back from closes like this: “What other things do we need toconsider before making a decision?”“Have the courage to face the truth!” – W. Clement Stone
Welcoming Objections in Buyer’s StyleThe sales professional welcomes the challenge as necessary for the buyer to feel totally committedto the buy. In the absence of that commitment, the buyer will feel “sold” a bill of goods – especiallywhen encountering any complications with the ad process or the results.Dealing with Objections: Ask questions about the objection Listen without interruption Repeat back understanding of the objection Ask for their opinion and share yours on best solution Get on same side – Use a screen or a sheet of paper to work on togetherFocus on Solutions: Say, “OK, let’s problem solve – what are some solutions?” Ask opinions of solutions – do not just tell Tell them stories about what others have done, if you have real storiesExpressives: Need personal support & help Listen carefully for fears expressed; explain guarantees or other safeguardsDrivers: Want to make their own decisions when convinced it will work for them. Tell stories about how it has worked for specific othersAnalyticals: Need facts and documentation Give them the documentation and data they need and go over it with themAmiables: Want plenty of time to make decision – fear social disapproval Provide testimonials and referencesTreat the prospect as an individual whose fears & concerns you wish to resolve.
21st Century Winning AttitudeYou might wonder how a salesperson in the 21st Century will develop that “winning attitude” thatseems to inspire confidence in both the buyer and the seller.While the 21st Century attitude is not about winning a battle of wits with the customer, it IS all aboutwinning FOR the customer which is a win for the sales professional, too, in more ways than just thatone sale.By working for your company ON BEHALF OF THE CUSTOMER in a more collaborative way, both youand the customer will feel more of a commitment to make things work out even beyond the initialsale. You will both be more inclined to build a long term relationship. Great wealth is built fromrecurring business – in commission, yes, and also from the wealth of referrals and the welcomingrelationships with so many long term clients.Develop Prosperity ConsciousnessExpect good things to happen in the future, for yourself and your customers.Your 2012 Plan should include these basic elements for success that we have covered: Develop specialized knowledge in your field Become a resource for your clients Help your clients get resultsYour attitudes and habits determine whether the task is welcome or as welcome as a toothache.Beyond the tactics, work on developingThe 4 Traits of Highly Successful Salespeople: 1. Strong Goal Clarity 2. High Achievement Drive 3. Emotional Intelligence 4. Excellent Social & Networking SkillsThere’s no time like the present moment to start.Send me stories about your successes. I’d love to add your sales stories to my portfolio.Darla Walker firstname.lastname@example.org
Recommended ResourcesIntegrity Selling for the 21st Century – Ron WillinghamPartner with your customers and prospects by dialoguing and collaborating on solutions to needs.Scenario Selling – Patrick SullivanCreating a Collaborative learning model for 21st Century selling.Do More Great Work – Stop the Busy Work and Start the Work that Matters – Michael StanierFinding your great work.Stand Out – Marcus BuckinghamNew Strengths assessment from Marcus Buckingham of Gallup Strengths fame. Includes self testing passwordto online test. Buy the book –but not the Kindle eBook version which doesn’t have the test key.Emotional Intelligence 2.0 – Travis Bradberry & Jean GreavesEmotional Intelligence must be healthy to make and maintain wealth. We can improve it.Strengths-Finder 2.0 – Tom RathHas a key to the Gallup Strengths Finder online test to discover your unique set of strengths and to work actionplans on your own personal online dashboard.