Today’s buyers are smart, independent, and powerful. They don’t want to take calls from pushy salespeople or sit through long-winded sales pitches. They’d rather research products on their own and ask for help from a sales representative only when needed.
Indeed, if buyers could get away with never speaking to a salesperson again, they would. According to Demand Gen Report’s 2014 B2B Buyer Behavior Survey, 41% of buyers said they waited longer to initiate contact with B2B vendors than they did a year ago.
Let’s be frank: Salespeople don’t have the best reputations. People often stereotype them as greedy, slick, or untrustworthy. While this stereotype is unfair to many sales reps, some—including even the most seasoned—do things that turn off customers.
Below are five reasons buyers avoid salespeople and some helpful tips to get your sales strategy back on track:
1. You Don’t Listen: Are you so immersed in your sales pitch that you neglect to listen to what your prospect has to say? Your goal is to help the buyer see the value in what you have to offer; however, that’s nearly impossible to do if you don’t know what they want. Ask intelligent questions, such as: “What challenges are you currently facing?” and “How much are these challenges costing you?”
2. You Haven’t Done Your Research: Never ask a prospect, “How’s business?” Why? Because you should already know the answer. It’s your job to do your homework and prepare for a sales call. By gathering information about a buyer’s industry, financial data, and competitors, you are able to build a detailed profile. It also gives you a solid foundation upon which to build a strong business relationship.
3. You Don’t Offer Anything of Value: Time is a precious commodity for decision makers. Don’t waste it trying to educate them about something they already know. Instead, offer them new ideas and fresh perspectives. Put less emphasis on what your product does and more on how it will solve their biggest problems. Try leveraging available marketing materials, such as ROI calculators, whitepapers, and industry reports, to help drive value.
4. You Bombard the Buyer: Clogging a prospective buyer’s inbox with emails or calling them several times a week won’t expedite closing the deal. In fact, it will just annoy them. Heavy-handed sales tactics don’t work. Forget about making the sale and focus on becoming a trusted advisor. That way, buyers will want to reach out to you for guidance.
5. You Fail to Follow Up: What’s worse than stalking leads? Failing to follow up. Reaching out after a sales pitch or presentation is important for a number of reasons. Mainly, it keeps the momentum going. When crafting a follow-up email or call script, keep these three things in mind: always re-emphasize the business value, share new ideas and insights, and continue to educate.
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