Here’s how to transition away from your current “transactional” sales approach that’s getting you nowhere.
If you are feeling the pressure to help your company meet its bottom-line metrics quarter over quarter, working in a transaction-driven environment is not the only way to encourage your sales team to achieve its goals. Instead, you may want to try a different approach that will also enable you to build a stronger rapport with current and potential customers.
Here, 11 Fast Company Executive Board members share the best way to pivot your sales strategies and transition your team away from a “transaction now” mentality when dealing with potential clients. They also discuss how to maintain a good balance while still making the deal.
1. BECOME EDUCATED ON THE CLIENT’S LONG-TERM PROBLEMS FIRST.
One key component is learning about the long-term problems that the client is trying to solve rather than rushing into offering an immediate solution with what you have on the shelf today. The right sales strategy needs to balance what you can do to build trust today to execute on their current needs while considering a sustainable strategy for the long term, which may include the creation of new services. – Jennifer Dixson Hoff, Colibri Real Estate
2. CREATE A TRUE PARTNERSHIP BY BUILDING MUTUAL TRUST.
Position your company and people as true partners to potential clients, and build relationships based on mutual trust. We see our clients and prospects as much more than customers; we’re partners working together to achieve goals and accelerate growth. Come to the table with thought leadership, innovative ideas, and meaningful experiences, rather than simply selling a product or service. – Eric Miquelon, Avanade
3. SHOWCASE YOUR COMPANY’S EXPERTISE, PERSONALIZED EXPERIENCES, AND FRINGE BENEFITS.
It is important to shift the focus to building relationships and understanding clients’ long-term needs, rather than just closing the deal. Showcase expertise, personalized experiences, and the long-term benefits of nurturing client relationships. Encourage consultative selling, where your team actively listens and provides tailored solutions, emphasizing value over quick wins. – Krishnan Venkata, LatentView Analytics Corporation
4. INCLUDE A HOLISTIC MIX OF PRODUCTS TO DELIVER CUSTOMER SERVICE AND REDUCE CHURN.
Sales reps are coin-operated, which requires more thought about the reward within the compensation plans. Make sure you align the reward with the outcomes you are seeking. That may mean aligning more on a rolling quota model or higher commission on certain deals, including a more holistic mix of products that may deliver more customer service and reduce churn. – Michael Cupps, ActiveOps
5. MEET PROSPECTS WHERE THEY’RE AT RATHER THAN THE ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL APPROACH.
Personalization and providing true value are key. New data found that 63 percent of employees in sales-related roles work with content that isn’t personalizable enough for their customers, which interrupts the value thread across the customer lifecycle. When enterprises focus on meeting prospects where they’re at rather than a one-size-fits-all “transaction now” mindset, they can build lasting relationships. – Irina Soriano, Seismic
6. BUILD A STRONG PIPELINE OF OPPORTUNITIES TO RELIEVE IMMEDIATE PRESSURES.
Every company sets monthly and quarterly sales targets, so you’re never going to be able to entirely shift away from trying to close the deal. With that said, building a strong pipeline of opportunities can relieve some of the immediacy pressures. A robust pipeline gives you the latitude to develop a foundation built on mutual trust and respect. Over time, the opportunities will roll and convert. – Danny Lohrfink, Wealth
7. TEACH YOUR TEAM THE IMPORTANCE OF BUILDING LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIPS WITH CLIENTS.
Transitioning away from a “transaction now” mentality and toward a more consultative, relationship-based approach can be a critical move for long-term success. You can establish a new vision. Show your team how building long-term relationships with clients can lead to recurring sales, customer loyalty, and even referrals. This vision should be clear, compelling, and frequently communicated. – Leigh Burgess, Bold Industries Group, Inc.
8. BE TRANSPARENT AND OFFER INCENTIVES.
To pivot sales strategies, focus on building relationships and providing value. Rather than pushing for a quick sale, prioritize understanding the client’s needs and offering solutions. This builds trust and increases the likelihood of repeat business. Maintain a balance by setting realistic expectations, being transparent about pricing and terms, and offering incentives for long-term partnerships. – Robert Nikic, Why Unified
9. ENGAGE IN PERSONALIZED FOLLOW-UP ACTIVITIES, CHECK-INS, AND SUPPORT.
Develop a strategic plan for nurturing relationships with potential clients. This may include personalized follow-up activities, regular check-ins, sharing relevant resources, and offering ongoing support and advice. Focus on building rapport, demonstrating expertise, and providing consistent value over time. – Candice Georgiadis, Digital Agency, Inc.
10. DEMONSTRATE YOUR KNOWLEDGE ABOUT CLIENT DEVELOPMENTS.
Focus on building long-term relationships. A potential client that isn’t ready to start working with you immediately is still a future client. Reach out when the company shares announcements or wins. Demonstrate your knowledge of the client’s developments through thoughtful and personal follow-up instead of just sending generic emails. – Kelley Higney, Bug Bite Thing
11. BUILD AND MAINTAIN AN INDUSTRY SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE.
Shape your company mentality to be customer-focused. This will encourage teams to prioritize client needs and offer viable solutions. Similarly, train your sales team to develop relationships, not sell transactionally. The most effective way to do this is by building and maintaining a presence on industry social media platforms and networks where they can cultivate strategic relationships. – Gergo Vari, Lensa