If you're responsible for improving sales performance at your company, your job is harder today than it was just five years ago. Want proof? Consider these numbers:
- The average sales cycle is 22% longer than it was five years ago.1
- 58% of B2B sales processes now end in “no decision” rather than “won” or “lost.”2
- 40% of sales people fail to make quota.3
Why is it so hard to get buyers to make decisions?Because you're no longer in the business of selling products and services — you're selling ideas.
When one of your sales people presents a solution to a potential customer, what they're really selling is a new idea— a new approach to meeting the buyer's business challenge. For the buyer, new equals change. And, change can feel downright scary. Change is risky.
As a result, buyers will use “idea voodoo” to slow down your sales cycle. They'll find multiple reasons why your ideas are too similar to competitors’ or not similar enough. They're too expensive, not expensive enough, too complicated, too simple, too small, too big, or simply won’t work. You get the idea.
The psychology behind it is simple: We're wired to avoid pain — to avoid risk. It’s easier to find reasons to resist new ideas, and much harder to justify the risk of trying something new. It’s easier and safer to say “no” than it is to say "yes" — or to do nothing at all.
So what does it take to push back against “idea voodoo” and accelerate sales? Stronger, more credible messaging and conversation skills.
It’s a matter of equipping your sales team with the skills and tools needed to help buyers overcome their risk aversion and trust in your company's ability to execute on its innovative ideas.
Credibility is the bedrock upon which sales are built. What does it mean to be a credible communicator? It means you know how to:
- Prove yourself a trusted source of knowledge and advice
- Ask thoughtful questions that get to the heart of what your customer needs to be successful
- Clearly and compellingly communicate a new idea in ways that are relevant to your customer
- Handle tough questions about your company's solutions, without getting defensive
- Persuade a risk-averse customer to adopt a new and better solution to the business problem
I know I'm not saying anything new with respect to credibility. Anyone worth their salt in sales knows that trust is everything.
What can be challenging for those of us in sales is knowing precisely how to project the credibility and conviction needed to persuade buyers to say "yes" — especially when saying "no" feels so much safer.
If accelerating sales performance is a priority for you and your company, download the new whitepaper: Credible Messaging: The Missing Driver of Business Performance.
1 http://www.hubspot.com /marketing-statistics
2 http://www.qvidian.com /sites/default/files/resource/Sales-Execution-Trends-2014.pdf
3 https://hbr.org /2013/12/new-insight-into-key-sales-metrics/
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