I’m putting in the work. Why am I not selling?
They say quality is enough. ‘Just make sure you have a good product and you’ll get there.’ Eventually.
You’ve probably heard this argument more than once. But when is ‘eventually’?
It might be tomorrow. Or it might be never. Even though you have a good product. A great, visionary product some might say. Yet, you’re not pulling the numbers some are pulling with a less valuable product.
Why not me? What do they have that I don’t?
The truth is that – yes, quality is essential. However, it is only a starting point. Without a good sales and marketing strategy, your product may never reach its peak or even some level of moderate success.
‘I already have a sales strategy’, you’re probably quick to add. I’m sure you do. But I am not talking about numbers and action plans. I am talking about having an organic approach to selling. And, most of all, I am talking about turning this organic approach into a practical guide for any sales agent.
What is this organic approach I speak of?
Well, how about I ask you – What drives your business? What do you focus on when you engage with any potential customer?
Is it your product? Is it emphasizing its value, its prowess? Its uniqueness or edge?
That’s a starting point. Depending on the way you deliver the message, it might even bring results.
But if it’s not enough, what then?
A certain focus on and highlight of your product is necessary. But when it comes to the approach to actually selling the product you will find, if you haven’t already, that it is definitely lacking. Otherwise, why would customers shy away from a product that fits their needs and meets all quality standards?
Because, most likely, they don’t feel that your product was made for them. That they are the star of your show.
As great as your product may be, at the end of the day, it will always be about them.
Think of it like this – how do you yourself relate to a product when you’re looking to buy, or when you’re not looking to buy?
You start with quality checks, price ranges and reviews to make sure you get a good product from a trusted brand. But what about afterwards? Or what about when you’ve ended up buying things you were not necessarily set on buying? What sealed the deal?
You might consider buying a qualitative product, but you will definitely buy a qualitative product that was made especially for you.
A recent survey on consumer behavior shows that 70% percent of buyers look for a “personalized experience” when purchasing. The experience the product can give them and the way it uniquely matches their style and needs is a deciding factor for most.
How to make your customers feel that your product was made for them
You have to make it about them. From start to finish. From drafting your product to following up on sales.
First of all, place yourself as a consultant rather than a seller.
“People don’t like to be sold, but they love to buy.” Says writer and business trainer, Jeffrey Gitome. And we know that to be true.
They want to feel in control of their buying decision. So, instead of singing odes of adoration to your products, simply offer a guiding hand and help them find the best solution for their needs.
In other words, be customer driven, not product driven. Address your customers’ needs and desires, while staying loyal to your brand and its core values.
A consultative approach to the selling process is a customer-driven, value centric, brand loyal and organic strategy with proven lasting results in customer retention and sales numbers.
How does consultative selling work? How do I start prioritizing my customers right now?
1. Start with research.
Find out what your target audience likes. Their ambitions, fears and obstacles in achieving their dreams. And make your product answer their most dire wish. Look for important information such as the customer’s role, company size, their area of interest and activity, their competitors. Follow their activity on Social Media to get an idea of their identity and needs.
2. Then ask.
Research can only provide you with a direction. You need to personalize your approach even more. You need to get the information from your customers directly and in their own words. The questions need to be tailored to your own product and target audience. However, they should address two fundamental things – Pain and Gain.
What pains, obstacles, difficulties do they encounter in achieving their desires? What do they want to achieve and how can your product help?
Here’s an example of useful questions to probe for essential information:
- What is their biggest obstacle in achieving results?
- What type of products are they interested in?
- Does your product answer their needs?
- Do they want to learn more about how to achieve their aims? Or about how products such as yours can help?
Focus on finding solutions for them and on educating them in the area that best fits their needs. Even if it’s not something that will end with a sale.
A genuine approach to their needs and issues will result in long-lasting trust. They might not buy your product, but they will come back for information if it’s something you can help them with.
Once the trust has been established, continue to give them insightful information. Tailor emails, webinars, ebooks and other material to certain sectors of your market to keep them engaged and informed about relevant subjects and about your products.
3. Lastly, listen.
Listen attentively to how they respond to your questions and look for clues given by their way of approaching your questions, by their choice of words and by what they don’t say. Listen to their feedback and criticism and always look for ways to respond to them.
Easy tips to become a great consultative seller
1. Keep track of prospects, leads and established customers.
Keeping up to date and storing important data about your prospects and customers goes a long way in building a solid customer support system.
You have readily available information for selling strategies and for implementing marketing campaigns and you can track performance and visualize your strategy and the sales process a lot better as well as in a more insightful way.
Moreover, aside from basic contact information, you can establish lists for certain products or for certain campaigns and also track the status of a transaction or of the sales process.
2. Build a subscriber network centered around educational information.
Provide them with useful and relevant information, and they will become increasingly aware of your brand. They will rely on you as a trusted source of information and will consider your products when making buying decisions. Remind them constantly to subscribe, without being obnoxious about it. Encourage them to subscribe through offers and discounts.
You can keep them informed and exposed to your brand regularly via newsletters, online events or blog posts. Just keep in mind that your main aim is to educate and guide, not to pitch a sale.
Although not avoiding it altogether, the selling of your product should only come at the right time, in the right context – when it provides a viable solution. For instance, if you send two or three emails with educational information, the third or fourth can be a sales pitch more or less direct, depending on the customers it addresses.
You can and should however insert links or guide them to other relevant information or to events and opportunities whenever possible to keep them engaged with your content.
According to a survey conducted by Snov.io: “40% of B2B marketers claim that email newsletters are the most important tactic in their content marketing strategy.”
And “37% of respondents named email as the most effective channel for customer loyalty and retention, while websites were named by 13% and social media by only 11%.
3. Always follow up on interactions and ask for feedback.
Getting feedback on your product and on your overall services is essential in not only building trust but in making sure you keep your product up-to-date with your customers’ needs and with market changes.
Be open to criticism and always consider ways to improve your services, especially having your customers’ feedback as a starting point.
Everything can be optimized – from making the payment process easier to providing more insightful descriptions to your products, to how you handle customer requests or issues. Ask the right questions, listen well and don’t be afraid to change or admit your faults when adequate.
A simple way to implement a feedback solution is to have an automated email system for all transactions and interactions with the product and the services. Questions should include a way to evaluate the interaction and indicate any issues encountered, such as unnecessary complexity or anything they might have deemed unsatisfactory.
4. Find ways to implement feedback.
Simply gathering information isn’t enough if it doesn’t result in actual changes. Centralize information and analyze data to find patterns and to turn patterns into solutions. If, for instance, many of your customers find the acquisition process rather complex – find ways to simplify it. You will find solutions for most cases, with proper research.
After all is said and done, how do I put everything into action?
You can start by finding the right tools that can make consultative selling easy and dare I say, enjoyable.
But what does a tool need to do to be the right hand of an exceptional consultative seller?
1. Create a data empire, by storing customer information and important documents.
A solid database is a seller’s greatest asset. It is the key to efficient customer services and sales management and a perfect tool to keep everything centralized and all operations functional. Having everything available at any time and from anywhere increases productivity and turns the hassle of constantly keeping up with changes in customer information into a simple, pleasant process.
om anywhere increases productivity and turns the hassle of constantly keeping up with changes in customer information into a simple, pleasant process.
With a CRM – Customer Relationship Managament – Solution you get to take care of multiple tasks at once, communicate on common activities or delegate tasks when necessary. All while focusing on what really matters –
sales customers. You:
- Keep track of leads, prospects and existing customers.
- Keep track of subscriptions.
- Keep track of feedback and other customer interactions.
2. Rule the data empire, by analyzing information and creating reports.
‘If only I could have this information magically sorted into proper reports and categories, instead of going through it myself’. Oh, but you can. Easily I may add.
With the right CRM system you can sort most information into different types of reports by simply choosing the right parameters through a few clicks. You can easily find out what customers you need to focus on, be it based on demographic, on industry, on tenure or on any other grounds. With the proper filtering options, you can zoom in and implement the right campaigns on the right sectors.
3. Rule the data empire with ease, by having a customizable database.
A database is important, but a customizable database is of utmost importance.
Aside from filtering customers and documents, proper filters ensure good email management, including follow-ups and feedback – which stands at the heart of consultative selling and provides the most insight into good customer relationship management.
Alright, I get it. I need a CRM – but what CRM? Give me a name!
I got you. I know that for you to come to the right decision, you need hands-on experience. You need to see for yourself what the software can do and how it can help. That’s why you have the chance to try Zimplu CRM for free here.
How can Zimplu CRM be your little helper in consultative selling?
First of all, it provides a solution to all of the needs we’ve covered:
- It gives you a solid, customizable database.
- An external, comprehensive storage space.
- It keeps track of leads, prospects, existing customers, subscriptions, emails and feedback.
- It helps you analyze and filter information, and create reports.
The following are a few of its functions that specifically cater towards customer-driven sales and that you can implement straight away:
1. Generating Sales reports
With Zimplu CRM you can keep track of the sales agents’ progress on a certain sale or overall and even compare two or more sales to get valuable input on what selling tactics work and on which don’t. Moreover, you have the option to customize the type of sales, customers or agents you want the report to cover. A few examples of types of sales reports you’ll have access to are:
- A tabular report – for clear visibility of all products sold and of their sale process as a whole.
- A pivot report – for filtering sales based on a pre-established criteria that can work for both products or agents, as well as for a certain interval.
- A graphic report – for comparing sales and agents’ activity, based on timeframe or product.
2. Saving documents and conversation notes
Keeping track of all interactions with customers is vital. You need proof of every action taken on an account or transaction and you need to be able to revise and reference any customer-related activity. Zimplu offers an easy to use platform for all agents where you have the option to leave notes, save important documents, and other options for information storage.
3. Keeping track of all emails
You can integrate email addresses with Zimplu to have all the emails sent or received on a certain address synchronized in one place. Simply access a customer’s information and have everything readily available for reporting. Also, you can prepare email drafts directly on the platform and set up an automated emailing system.
4. Setting up reminders and automated emails
Never forget to follow up on sales or on promising leads and never leave potential deals unclosed. However, forgetting is unavoidable unless you have a good reminder system. Zimplu makes sure you never forget by setting up personalized reminders. This way, you can plan and monitor every step of the way whilst ensuring the customer never feels overlooked.
5. Keeping sales statuses updated and identifying sales opportunities
Sales opportunities can be missed if the sales process and the customer interactions are not closely monitored. Zimplu tracks the evolution of a sale or of a prospect and helps you identify and differentiate between false leads and potential deals. It also gives you a perspective on how the sales process works and on what activities help or hinder the closing of a deal.
Choosing Zimplu CRM
Once you’ve started using Zimplu CRM, the first thing you will notice will be the ease with which you access any customer data. How fast you are able to generate a variety of reports. And, how so much more prepared you feel before meeting or contacting a customer.
Secondly, you will notice how you never miss important opportunities, be it sales or potential leads. How you easily manage to stay on top of the game when it comes to sales numbers, but first of all – to customer retention numbers.
Thirdly, you will notice how customers keep coming back and how much they appreciate quality customer service – you will realize then how much the right information and the right approach matters.
Last but not least, you will realize how much of a difference Zimplu makes not only as your consultative selling assistant, but as a time-saving and productivity enhancing tool.
At the end of the road
It’s been quite a ride and if you made it this far – you’re a champ! You definitely have the drive to grow and the will to make anything happen!
To put everything we’ve discussed into perspective, these are the things you need to take with you when you click away:
- ‘Eventually’ may mean ‘Never’. Act now.
- The number one reason you are not selling is most likely a wrong approach to sales and to customers.
- A customer-driven approach to sales should be a seller’s top priority.
- The best customer-driven approach can be boiled down to a ‘consultative selling’ approach.
- A consultative selling approach means a customer-driven, value centric, brand loyal and organic strategy.
- The number one principle of consultative selling is making the customer feel valued and making them feel as if your products were made especially for them.
- The three main steps of consultative selling are research, asking the right questions and active listening.
- The main things to consider in establishing a consultative selling strategy are – Keeping track of prospects, leads and established customers; Building a subscriber network centered around educational information; Always following up on interactions and asking for feedback; Finding ways to implement feedback.
- Use a CRM System for optimum database management and customer satisfaction improvement.
- Use Zimplu CRM for a customizable, easy to use CRM Solution and get the best consultative selling assistant.
- Get a glimpse of your bright future by creating a Free Account and trying Zimplu out for yourself.
If you’re ready to pull the numbers your products and services deserve, start with the right software for your business through direct contact so you can reach the best conclusion.
Try Zimplu for free, HERE