I was chatting to a senior procurement manager recently. When he asked me what I did for a living and I said that I helped business owners and sales managers sort out their sales challenges, he laughed and said that he hoped that my work didn’t include ‘hard-sell’ sales training. Intrigued, I asked him to elaborate.
He said that he can sum up a salesperson from the minute they walk into his office. Some take ”the look to see what I can make small talk about” approach whilst others immediately whip out their laptops and presentation folders to start their “show and tell”. He said if he picked up that they hadn’t done their research ahead of the meeting, he’d politely end the meeting within 10 minutes.
I smiled wryly because it just reinforced my thinking that many procurement folks have wised up to the ‘same old, same old’ style of selling. If you’ve been reading the SalesBrief for a while, you might recall that I’ve mentioned a training course for procurement people that specifically addresses how to outsell and negotiate with the average salesperson. That was 8 years ago. Imagine how many more South African buyers have attended that programme since.
So ditch the 15 alternative closes, drop the contrived approach and just be authentic. Sure, you have to ask for the order at the right time. Sure, there is a sales process that should be followed but not in such a way that you look and sound like a Sales 101 robot. Nowadays, the chances of getting five yeses in a row as a way to close a deal are getting slimmer and slimmer. Why? Because the person on the other side of the desk could be well aware that this is a staged and/or manipulative sales approach. As a result, you could personally be viewed in a negative light.
In 2015, selling is about the customer, their needs, their challenges and the way they buy. That’s the part of the ‘sales approach’ that needs your focus.
Integrity, authenticity and collaboration rules. Buyers are sharp.