Most people are uncomfortable with online sales as well as traditional sales, yet we know it’s a fundamental skill required to stay in business. Visions of a plaid-jacketed used car salesman may spring to mind. Call me a Pollyanna, but I think that you can be successful in traditional and online sales without checking your ethics at the door. I’ve found that when you’re passionate about your business and are truly motivated to help people solve a problem, then your prospects will naturally respond.
The Secret to Successful Online Sales
One of the most powerful ideas that brought clarity around the sales process for me was a quote I heard from Eric Lofholm “The Satisfied Man Doesn’t Buy.” If there is little to no discomfort in the current situation, your prospect just isn’t motivated to do anything different. Even if the product has an “all-new-low-price, limited-time two-for-one, it-expire-at-midnight!” offer, there isn’t a driving need to change the status quo.
Have you ever received a call late on Friday afternoon by a hot prospect out of the blue? In response, you spent most of your weekend puling together a comprehensive proposal, and delivering it to the prospect’s inbox ready for review first thing Monday morning? Then only to be disappointed later in the week that the prospect went with another provider? In her article entitled “The Seduction of Low Hanging Fruit,” sales trainer and author of Selling to Big Companies, Jill Konrath speaks to the hot prospect request-flurry of activity-no sales cycle.
In a nutshell, she brilliantly observed that if you enter the sales process late, don’t expect to win. If a competitor already has a strong relationship with the prospect, they’re in the driver’s seat. Your competitor most likely has already established the decision criteria, and positioned their unique selling proposition to expertly deliver the desired results.
So How Do You Effectively Compete?
In order to compete effectively, you must be willing to ask the tough questions. If they seem ready to buy, ask them:
- Who else are you looking at?
- Has your company done business with these companies before?
- Why would you consider switching?
Only when your prospect expresses strong dissatisfaction with a competitor, then you just might have a real opportunity to win the sale. However, if they’re just looking around—comparing capabilities, shopping price, Etc.—that’s a red flag. Most likely they have already made up their mind, and are trying to justify their purchasing decision to themselves (or higher-ups in the organization). If you decide to provide a proposal, be cautious of the time and resources spent in trying to win the business. While there is always the chance you can be the hero with that hot prospect and save the day, those opportunities are few and far between.
The key to sales is relationships. Remember that passion around your business and genuinely wanting to help people solve a problem? When there is trust and rapport, the online sales (and traditional) conversation is easier and more comfortable. Now, that’s a winning combination.
How can we help?
Want to make more sales with your online presence? Need to nurture your online sales leads more consistently and easily?
We are the spectrum group, and we offer strategic and tactical consulting so you can monetize your online presence. Call us for a complimentary 30-minute consultation to discuss your online sales and marketing strategies.