In today’s self-serve buyer’s journey, 57% of the purchasing decision is complete before a prospect makes contact, which greatly impacts the sales landscape for Xerox channel partners. For example, cold calls are no longer accepted; in fact, a whopping 90 percent of today’s B2B decision makers won’t respond to cold outreach at all, but that’s not the only outdated sales tactic to address.
If you’re using the outdated sales habits below, modernize these techniques to better meet the needs of your copy and print buyers:
- Cold calls have evolved: With email, content marketing, search engine optimization(SEO) and social media, there are a variety of ways to connect with prospects that don’t involve picking up the phone and interrupting their day. As buyers, we inherently know this, but some salespeople have not let go of the idea that gaining trust and credibility with someone you’ve never met is no longer happening on the phone. However, even though cold calls aren’t well received, it’s still necessary to prospect over the phone.
Instead, use warm calling techniques:
- Conduct research before calling to find ways you can help.
- Use insights and statistics to explain how you will save them time and money.
- Highlight customer-centric reasons for calling, such as knowing their businesses challenges and how you can help
- Connect and engage on social media before calling and leverage those interactions as an introduction on the phone.
- Personalize conversations so prospects know you’re calling with purpose.
- Over selling is outdated: Yesteryear’s sales cycles were longer, slower and more cumbersome. In the old sales paradigm, buyers depended on salespeople to be experts and gave them many touch points to over sell. That approach isn’t working today. Buyers have an advantage; they know more about us than we know about them before we meet. It’s a game changer. With savvy B2B buyers narrowing the playing field prior to opening buying conversations, sales teams must think differently:
- When you don’t know an answer never resort to lying
- Address the details behind your prospect’s pain points
- Be an educator and a consultant first and a salesperson second
- Social media is a big deal: Social media is today’s online networking and word-of-mouth marketing. As more buyers turn to online connections for opinions, suggestions and information, social takes a front seat in demand generation and closing deals. This is evident across B2B social platforms and can be seen on your feeds as people use social media for talent searches, product selections, and supplier recommendations. With social media algorithms leaning more towards engagement, it’s no longer enough to just post content. Today’s users must like, share, comment and start conversations on social platforms to gain traction.
Start with these Xerox Channel Partner blogs to find your footing on social media:
- Less telling more asking: The power in the sales relationship has shifted from the salesperson armed with answers leading the way, to well-informed buyers setting the pace. Sales methodology followed suit. Making assumptions and telling prospects what they need and why is a quick way to guarantee you won’t get the sale.
Instead, build rapport and relationships and leverage the buyer’s point of view to ensure you become their trusted advisor:
- Be authentic and curious
- Ask open-ended questions that paint a picture of your prospect’s needs
- Relate to them and listen to their pain points
- Use the discovered challenges to facilitate solution-based conversations
- In closing… Today’s prospects arrive armed with knowledge and when it comes to supplier selection, they want to know you’re there to help – for the long haul. Instead of focusing on closing the deal, build trust and meet prospects on their terms, where, when, and how they want to. The close will follow.
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