'Often when I get sales approaches I have fun with them; I look at the training they have been through and throw them a curve ball,’ a client told me in a recent conversation.
When it comes to sales training it seems that everyone follows the herd, trying to arm their people more and faster, but ultimately with little effect. What’s more, clients are not stupid and they go through the same training or inform themselves.
What happened in marketing and brand development in the early and mid 2000s is still happening in sales. Back then, customers started to shun the over-hyped, artificial brands and look for ‘real’ brands. A market research respondent said of one of our clients' brands ‘it’s so industrial, it doesn’t feel real’. I reference this in a recent blog on ugly vegetables.
A brilliant example of a brand that transformed itself is the ‘Real’ people Dove campaign. And that has led to countless 'names' and designs that are attempting to look more 'real' or home made. These are brands that live off a strong vision and conviction.
We still miss this in sales! Still treat our customers as people who have to be ‘sold to’ instead of finding better ways to help customers ‘want to buy’ through a new, more real and more honest way of engaging. Neil Rackham, of SPIN Selling fame, admitted to one of our clients that ‘if you don’t have your customer’s trust, no process will save you’.
So why not start with what we know is key, but never focused on?
- Looking at how you build trust with customers (if you indeed do).
- Understanding properly what customers would love to trust you for and then delivering on it.
You’d be surprised what you learn - including how much of your customers' trust you already have, but never knew about it or even thought it was important.
So if you want to be more successful (especially with younger clients), stop selling like it’s 1999. Look at new and better ways to engage. New ways that are more successful for your organisation, your team and your customers.