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Good Sales Techniques May Never Change, But Selling Vehicles Do

November 25, 2015
By Tracey E. Schelmetic - Telemarketing Software Contributor

Sales managers are fond of telling their sales teams that, despite technology changes, the skills of selling never really change. This may be true; customers are engaging in buying behavior in different channels than they once did. While sales people may be exercising skills that are decades old, they need to be doing it in different places and with different tools than they once did. Ignoring changes in technology, customer preferences and buying behavior will never be the hallmark of a successful seller.

There is evidence that customers are doing more footwork than ever before making a purchase. They may examine a product in a brick-and-mortar store, research it on their smartphone, take to social media for recommendations and ultimately wind up buying the product online. There are a nearly infinite number of configurations into which buying behavior can shape itself today. Sales people need to understand that customers are savvy, well-educated and aware of price points long before they ever speak with a human being, according to a recent article published by Microsoft’s (News - Alert) Eleanor Collier.

“Today’s buyers are actually 57 percent of the way through the buying cycle before they engage with sales,” wrote Collier. “The days of the hard sell are gone as today’s buyers are more in control of accessing information.  Buyers now have an unprecedented number of sources from search to company websites, social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn (News - Alert) and Twitter), their professional communities, news outlets and more.  It’s easy for buyers to access information and compare options.”

Essentially, sales personnel today are more likely to involve themselves in a buying process rather than a selling process. Customers often already know what they want before initiating contact with a salesperson.

“Digital and social buying signals from potential leads are key and while traditional interactions are still relevant, the most successful deals will be done when sales people go out directly and engage prospects on digital channels,” wrote Collier.

While many (particularly older) sales people may not want to hear it, social media has become inextricably linked with the sales process. Today’s most successful salespeople have a wide network of social media contacts, and they leverage these contacts to “always be closing.” Using social media, they can understand precisely where buyers are in their buying process, and better understand what the prospect’s needs are before they make contact. This allows for an unprecedented level of customization and personalization of the sales effort. It also helps save time, as the data about prospects is more readily available today. Understanding which digital sources to seek out for information is a relatively new skill in selling.

“Sales people should tap in to all available data both internally and externally for smarter selling as sales no longer happens in a silo,” wrote Collier. “If sales management arms their sales reps with access to CRM tools with embedded social intelligence, the time spent on pre-call research can be cut down considerably.”

Edited by Rory J. Thompson