Christopher Thompson's Closing the Deal: 5 trends impacting 2014 sales
Since I began my career, not only have sales approaches changed, but the way customers buy has also evolved. Gone are the days when you can succeed simply by perfecting your pitch and knowing your products inside and out. It's interesting to see the evolution of selling, and there is only one guarantee - change will continue to happen.
Technology and the vast amount of information available to everyone have allowed buyers to gather information and do their own research throughout the sales process.
Sales training has historically consisted of teaching people how to uncover the needs of their prospects and customers.
Of course this is important, but do you ever consider the needs customers have that they may not know about? Think of Apple. Apple is well-known for creating needs that people never realized they had. This is an element of selling that has definitely changed a lot and something for every sales professional to spend time learning about and getting proficient at.
If you sell to businesses, there will always be numerous people responsible for making buying decisions.
Research from CEB (executiveboard.com) shows that on average, 5.4 people are involved in a buying decision. So if you think the single contact you are working with is calling all the shots, you're way off.
We all know social media continues to play a major role in selling efforts.
But don't forget, that also means people can check you out. Expect customers and prospects to do their own research on you through the various social media platforms. Keep that in mind and take your personal online brand seriously.
People responsible for making buying decisions usually know the best time to buy. And guess what? It's probably your fault.
If your company tends to discount heavily during month, quarter or year end, your customers will pick up on that.
Keep this in mind, and be aware of the buying behavior you can influence.
Christopher Thompson (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes Closing the Deal weekly for the Sunday News.
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