When working on marketing strategy and planning, you inevitably find yourself talking about sales and sales tips. After all, that's what marketing leads to, right?
To provide additional value in this area, we decided to sit down with a national sales expert. Well, actually, we tweeted him a request, and then we skyped the interview. But you get the idea.
SALES TIPS FROM THE SALES HUNTER
Mark "The Sales Hunter" is a renowned keynote speaker, sales trainer, and author dedicated to bringing high energy and measurable success to businesses around the world. Companies call Mark when they need to hunt down the reason their sales are lagging. He speaks and trains salespeople as well as their respective companies to delve into the sales problems they’re facing while designing effective habits and systems for sales success.
Mark spent 18 years in the sales and marketing divisions of three Fortune 100 companies before starting his own business. He's also published two books, High Profit Selling and High Profit Prospecting. We highly encourage you to check out these books for additional tips (outside of this blog post of course!).
So, what are some of Mark's best words of sales advice? Read on!
1.FOCUS ON CULTURE
Mark is quick to point out the impact of organizational culture on overall sales performance.
"The culture of the business drives the sales activity," says Mark. "When you look at it closely, you usually find the problem stems from the top down. Training a toxic environment will get you nowhere."
That can be tough to hear, but it’s exactly what many companies need to learn in order to improve their sales results.
While sales is typically more "today-focused", the best sales organizations utilize strategic thinking and planning for accounts. They also recognize the skills, techniques and tools that sales needs in order to drive results.
2. KNOW (REALLY KNOW) YOUR CUSTOMER
A lead is your potential customer. They know about you. They’re interested in your products/services. You just have to close the deal. Sounds easy enough, right?
You can't call just anyone and everyone, hoping to land a sale. We've all worked with salespeople who have tried this and then get discouraged when they can't close!
You must focus on a target customer. A target audience or buyer persona is something that should be created in tandem with the marketing team, but you'll also be able to target specific people or contacts that fit within a broader category.
Many times sales suffer due to lack of focus, not lack of activity.
If you don’t know where to start, just ask your current customers what they want. If one customer has a need for your products, others probably do too.
Understanding your leads is vital to sales performance.
3. RECOGNIZE MOTIVATION AND TIMING
As a business leader or owner, you shouldn’t have to be motivating your sales team. Great salespeople know how to motivate themselves - but it also goes back to the culture. Create an environment where your sales team can easily reach prospects, talk to them, and interact with them. If they need better equipment for long hours on the phone, make sure they're equipped for maximum productivity, and light the competitive fire!
A good environment shouldn't be just a physical and cultural attitude. As the manager or owner, make sure you get out into the field during the entire year. Don’t just wait till the 4th quarter when you want to hit your goals. Get out there all year long. Start your first quarter off with big opportunities and let the 4th quarter be follow-up sales and routine pitches.
4. SELL WITH EMOTION, JUSTIFY WITH LOGIC
The sales world is a jungle in-and-of-itself but the challenges that salespeople face usually stem from one major issue: being too focused on feature and benefits.
When you buy a new mattress, you're less concerned about the features (if you're honest with yourself) and you're more concerned with the overall quality of sleep you'll experience after a night in your new bed. The same goes for cars, software, shampoo, TVs, etc.
Could you list all of the features of your car? Probably not. Could you remember specific ones? Yes.
Because of the benefit they provide. (Love those heated leather seats in the cold winter months right?)
Customers want outcomes.
What are they going to get by purchasing your product? Salespeople should be helping prospects see what they want and achieve that with their product. Sales should address a goal, solve a problem, or satisfy a need. But to successfully do this, you have to know your customers!
5. STOP TRYING TO SELL. SEEK TO UNDERSTAND.
Customer needs range from industry to industry. However, you have to be able to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Really understand their worldview and the problems they're facing.
You wouldn’t want to go to the doctor for a voluntary check-up and the first thing they say is, “Good to see you! You look like you need open heart surgery. Let's get that scheduled now!”
That would be absurd.
Yet, when we show up to a sales meeting or even a phone call and automatically assume we know what they want, we're doing just that.
Don’t sell to your leads. Instead seek to understand. You may find that they value price more than they initially led you to believe. Or they are strapped for time, so the solution that provides the best time savings should be at the top of the list.
Understanding opens many doors.
6. VIEW MARKETING AND SALES AS A POWERFUL PAIR
Marketing creates your brand image which helps craft the overall value of your product. Your marketing team, whether internal or outsourced through an agency, will create awareness and brand positioning for you to highlight on your sales calls.
Marketing shouldn’t be a wide spread shot at reaching as many people as they can. You want to define your prospects and target them specifically. Effective marketing can turn a sales problem into a sales opportunity and equip sales people with the correct context of content to present to leads.
When paired together effectively, likely using tools like a CRM, marketing and sales are powerful engines that drive the growth of a company.
A big thanks again to Mark Hunter for sharing his insights with us. To learn more about Mark or pick up a copy of one of his books, visit thesaleshunter.com. Check out the video below to see him in action: