Traditional sales conversations are changing forever. Salespeople can no longer rely on customary talking points and discovery models to navigate the sales cycle. This leaves many salespeople with little alternative but to regroup and understand the new reality of what makes a successful sales conversation.
But, before we go there, how did we get here?
Let’s examine 3 ways that sales conversations have changed in recent years. By exploring how salespeople used to approach dialogue with a potential buyer, we can understand where sales conversations are headed and what new strategies are evolving to effectively close deals in the modern era.
A Changing Culture
As society evolves, people change, which means the people being sold to change as well. Over time, changes in their thinking, their needs, and their behavior become apparent. These days, the people being sold to are far more educated by the time they engage with a salesperson. Product descriptions, price comparisons, customer testimonials, etc. are readily available online before a salesperson even enters the picture. This fundamentally changes the role of the salesperson in the buying process. They have shifted from information communicator, to consultant and value creator.
The Shift to Consultative Selling
Traditional sales pitches no longer work. Salespeople need to find way to have a two-way conversation with their prospects. Potential buyers don’t have time for salespeople who haven’t researched their business and most prefer to avoid lengthy “feeling out” conversations. They want to engage with salespeople who already understand their unique challenges and specific opportunities while bringing fresh insight, solving problems and creating value. Furthermore, “likability”, while still a good quality for a salesperson to have, no longer guarantees success. Loyalty to a particular salesperson comes only after the customer realizes value.
Multi-Channel Sales Conversations
Face-to-face selling is no longer the dominant way of communicating with potential buyers. Texting, using social media, emailing, and hosting special events, are all among the ways that have become necessary to deliver your message. In other words, today’s salespeople need to be multi-taskers, to some degree. Every one of these channels can influence buyers and, as a result, salespeople must expand and learn to work effectively within them.
It’s no secret. Traditional sales conversations no longer achieve the results they once did. The old sales talk track is being replaced with a more dynamic, more innovative set of engagement principles.
With unprecedented access to information and resources, buyers don’t need a salesperson anymore. They need a sales consultant.
This new breed of sales professional needs to frame each buyer conversation by demonstrating genuine insight and being a problem solver who offers potential solutions to company-specific pain points (even if those solutions have nothing to do with the company or products they’re selling). Modern salespeople are helping potential buyers make better-informed decisions by putting them at the center of the conversation. By being prepared for the modern sales conversation, they are setting themselves up to thrive in the dynamic, new reality of sales.