“The advance of technology is based on making it fit in so that you don’t really even notice it, so it’s part of everyday life.”
Bill Gates, Co-founder of Microsoft.
Technology and sales enablement tools are not only helping sales professional’s gain momentum in their marketplace, they’re also changing the way they sell their services.
Selling successfully in a digitally driven, highly networked and socially empowered business world takes a new mindset and skill set.
Inside many sales departments there’s a tug-of-war happening, a generational change and shift in sales thinking. Tenured, well-seasoned sales reps are watching tech savvy young professionals gunning for them as they take their careers to the next level.
Regardless of how long you’ve been in sales or plan on being in sales, you must quickly assess the best ways to sell your services and market yourself in this technology-driven world.
“How do you expect to get noticed in your marketplace when nobody knows you exist?”
Digital technologies, social platforms, sales enablement tools and modern business practices have changed the sales profession. The days of wining and dining your clients, leaving them with fancy brochures, pens and logo-covered notepads is over. They expect so much more from you, as they should.
“What fences prevent you from providing more value to your clients?”
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, today’s decision makers are younger and more technologically astute than their predecessors. What the younger generation may lack in operational experience, they make up for it with their understanding behind the power of technology and how this can be used to greatly assist how they do better business.
THE WAY WE DO BUSINESS HAS SHIFTED
A special thank you to Google as they’ve forever altered buying behaviors and how information is consumed. In the past, obtaining information about anything required an enormous amount of time, energy and resources. Speaking with sales reps was an essential component in learning about products, features, benefits, the market, and how all of this ties together.
No longer is this the case. Whether it be Google, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn, we have an unlimited access to just about any topic. Within seconds, we have access and answers to a vast majority of our questions.
The buyer is more informed than ever before and this is hitting the sales profession hard. It’s like a dose of “Bohemian Rhapsody” – thunder bolts and lightening, very very frightening (I’m a huge Queen fan).
There is no better time than now for sales professionals to rebuild and reinvent themselves inside a digital business world.
3 KEYS TO HELP UNLOCK THE DIGITAL BUSINESS DOOR
“How you present yourself, is how people first view you. What are you showcasing?”
FIRST IMPRESSIONS HAVE GONE DIGITAL
First impressions are difficult to change. First impressions matter but substance has the final word. Why I preach, “No Empty Suits”.
First impressions are twice as important online. It’s much easier for a prospect to mouse click and surf online without hearing what you have to say, than it is to walk away from you.
Credibility starts with the look but needs to be backed with your knowledge.
“I don’t care how good you look if you don’t know what you are talking about.”
To achieve an even greater level of success, sales professionals MUST pay attention to their online presence. You MUST build upon your online reputation just as hard as you build your offline reputation.
Before you step one foot inside the business door, or even the digital business door, anyone can check your website (your LinkedIn profile) to find out what you do, why you do it and how you do it. Social platforms provide prospects and your clients an idea of what’s on your mind and how your network is responding. Believe it or not, these snapshot images are helping potential clients decide whether to contact you, take your call or run away from you.
Strategic use of the LinkedIn platform allows a sales professional to showcase their professional image, tell their story and generate awareness in a highly competitive sales environment.
ARTICULATE VALUE ONLINE
A true sales professional tells a phenomenal story. It all starts with being able to clearly articulate value. However, this is where the roadblock begins.
Unfortunately, many in sales struggle in being able to clearly articulate the value they bring to their clients and prospects. With digital first impressions becoming a big deal, how you positon yourself by clearly articulating the value you bring is mission critical to your success.
Being able to articulate your value proposition is the digital door opener. This is the pathway and chapter one in opening up your story in a digital business world.
You must be able to convey a clear and compelling message online. In sales terms: what’s the most influential story you could tell to get your buyer to buy into YOU?
Social proof is mission critical to your success. Why? Because your prospects and clients are more informed then ever before. With the power of Google at their fingertips, potential clients can gather an immense amount of information about you before ever speaking with you.
“When you utilize social proof successfully, you convey to potential customers that buying your product or service is the safe thing to do. Doing this is central to the success of the sale because people are risk-averse.” A quote from, How to Use Social Proof to Sell Better and Faster by David Hoffeld.
One way you can provide social proof is start leveraging the recommendation section of your LinkedIn profile as a walking, talking social billboard. Spend quality time face to face to with your clients, thanking them for their business. Seek their approval and have them share what it’s like doing business with you and the value you bring to their business.
A recent study shows that “85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, up from 84% in 2016.” You may be thinking, “Yeah, this is the consumer world” but I will ask you to give serious thought to how this plays out in the business-to-business world.
Social proof starts with having your clients edify your work for your prospects to see. Think of TripAdvisor and how this sways your decisions, now think of how you can use social proof to open up sales conversations.
SALES PROFESSIONALS WILL SURVIVE
Self-proclaimed pundits have repeatedly declared millions of salespeople will soon be rendered obsolete by the emerging technologies of our day. In some instances and in some markets this may be true. However, sales professionals will survive.
In today’s fast paced, highly networked digital business world; a sales professional guides their clients and prospects in their decision making and buying process. They educate, help negotiate, consult, seek solutions, provide outstanding post-sale experiences and manages the relationship in its entirety.
Agility, change, adapt, adjust and thrive – sales professionals will survive in a digitally driven business world.