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/
What does the hit on Netflix called The Queen’s Gambit tell us about how to sell in a virtual setting? Actually, something very important.
Before we break down how this show teaches us the key to virtual selling let’s look at the backstory.
Sales professionals need a mix of soft skills to be successful. While rapport building is often considered the top sales skill, listening is the most critical skill for closing sales, and building long-term client relationships.
Learn 3 crucial tips to closing sales, and why listening is the top sales skill of 2021.
Gratitude. Appreciation. Recognition. It makes you feel good. This week in the US, many will pause for a day or two to give thanks and show appreciation for the things and people we care about most. It’s no secret how appreciation benefits the person getting it—but did you know it benefits the person giving it just as much?
Discover why recognition is such a powerful tool for improving relationships and wellbeing in life—and at work. Learn how to (and how NOT to) express your appreciation to others.
People in communities across the globe are adjusting to communicating while wearing masks. As we’re all experiencing, masks present both verbal and non-verbal communication challenges.Given this, we’ve prepared 5 tips for effective communications while wearing a mask, and compiled several insightful articles from leading publications on additional best practices.
TED Talks have become a go-to example for how to give an engaging presentation from the big stage. They can be informative, inspiring, and often incredibly entertaining. But is the TED Talk format right for a business presentation delivered in a conference room? Probably not — but the skills used by TED Talk presenters definitely are!
Learn how to identify what goes into a successful TED Talk and how to make those skills work for you in your everyday business presentations.
Learn Mandel’s 3-step model for skillfully responding — not reacting — to tough questions with confidence and ease.
What inspires and motivates people to action? Here’s a hint: it’s not a PowerPoint deck filled with data points and analytics. Learning how to share a powerful story can positively influence others and help your ideas become memorable. Perhaps you need to promote a new idea or close that crucial sale. Learn how some of the most successful business ventures today got their start from sharing a powerful story and how you can make your own narrative work for you.
Executive briefings. Big sales meetings. Project pitch meetings. What do they have in common? The stakes are sky high. There’s a lot riding on them for you and your company — revenue, reputation, productivity. Do your people have, both, the presentation AND facilitation skills to ensure their success?
Read the blog to find out and to get your free Discussion Leader Self-Assessment Tool and Facilitator Checklist.
Memory almost full. Imagine that warning flashing brightly on the forehead of every audience member. A successful presentation isn’t just about the speaker’s dynamic energy or their confident manner in front of an audience. Without compelling, easy to follow content, it doesn’t matter how comfortable you are in the spotlight. You and your topic will quickly be forgotten. So how do you ensure lasting, memorable impact? Learn how to be remembered by leveraging the ancient, globally relevant, and scientifically proven rule of three to focus your content, motivate your listeners, and make your executive presence shine.
How do you feel about building rapport? Many introverts feel uncomfortable when it comes to rapport-building because they think it means having to make “small talk” with others. If that’s you, fear not. You don't need the gift of gab to build good rapport. And having the gift of gab (or being extroverted) doesn't guarantee success either — especially if you're the one doing most of the talking.
Read the blog to get specific rapport-building tips anyone can use to quickly make a strong connection with others.
- Leading a Virtual Team Means Doing Things Differently
- Are You Really Listening?
- 4 Listening Tips for Improving Your Virtual Meetings
- The Irresistible Power of Stories in Virtual Selling
- The Top Sales Skill for 2021!
- Top Virtual Communication Mistakes – and How to Overcome Them in 2021!
- Tell a Story. Close a Deal. Even on Zoom.
- Throwback: Why Appreciation Matters in Life and at Work
- Tips for Communicating Effectively While Wearing a Mask
- Five Tips From a Virtual Meeting Producer