It might seem odd that the term “salesy” has become a pejorative. After all, the main objective of a sales team is to sell their company’s products and services. However, those on the other end of a sales call have their own priorities and challenges, and no one enjoys feeling pressured to agree to a contract or make a purchase.
By now, most people can tell when the person selling something is doing it for the wrong reasons and not actually interested in the customer’s needs. As a result, salespeople who come off as too pushy and/or inauthentic end up losing more leads and sales than they gain. So, if your team has been accused of being “salesy,” your success rate and reputation will take a hit. It’s time to adopt a new approach to sales and sales team management. Here are some tips on how to start selling more naturally.
Remember: The Need is More Important than the Product
Improving your sales strategy begins by recognizing that, to the customer, what you’re selling is secondary to their needs. In other words, your sales team must shift its thinking from focusing on selling a product or service to addressing a prospect’s specific pain points. For instance, if you’re selling software solutions to a company, start the conversation by asking questions about their operations and common issues that your product can resolve. Taking this approach reminds the potential buyer of their needs and establishes a level of trust between both parties.
Do Not Push — Get Ahead of the Game
If selling is the main source of revenue for your business, easing up a bit is easier said than done. Still, considering that high-pressure sales pitches are less and less effective these days (and even detrimental), loosening your grip a bit is more beneficial in the long run. You can do this by “getting ahead of the game,” so to speak. What does this mean, exactly? Simply put, openly anticipate that your customer might decline your offer by laying out the possibilities from the outset. You and your prospect both know what’s going on, after all.
So, you can build trust by being transparent and leading a call or meeting with something like: “When we’re finished talking today you might decide that we can offer something valuable for your company or you might decide that now isn’t the right time. We’re here to make sure you make the best decision for your needs.” Acknowledging that “no” is an option reduces the pressure and makes everyone more comfortable.
Let the Other Party Talk (Ask Questions)
Speaking of transparency, another way to sell more naturally is to not hog the line: let the other party talk. If the prospect isn’t particularly chatty, ask meaningful, open-ended questions (avoid closed-off “yes or no” questions). Doing so may reveal important pain points and concerns that can help you improve your pitch and better understand the other party. Plus, allowing the prospect to speak creates a conversational balance that naturally reduces the “salesiness” of the interaction.
Sell by Not Selling (Inbound Marketing)
When we think of sales, we often think about outbound marketing strategies like cold calls, mailing lists, trade shows, etc. However, inbound marketing strategies are just as important, especially these days where social media and search algorithms dominate the information sphere. These strategies include content creation, social media marketing, search engine optimization, and other tactics that organically lead targeted audiences to your company and products. One major benefit of a strong inbound marketing approach is that it rarely comes off as “salesy” because people are coming to you, not vice versa. That said, you can still eliminate any potential “salesiness” by investing in great copywriting that’s easy to read, relatable, and highly relevant.
Focus on Developing Leaders in Your Sales Team
Your sales numbers depend on the performance of your sales team. If your people lack clear direction or don’t receive consistent, constructive feedback, they will continue to fall into the same ruts. In order to level up your sales strategy, then, you have to level up your sales staff. Investing in sales leadership training is crucial to staying ahead of the curve in this challenging, competitive industry.
An effective sales leadership development program might include seminars on how to personalize sales pitches, encourage prospect’s to do the talking, create quality sales copy and marketing content, follow up properly with different types of leads, and much more. As members of your sales team continue developing leadership skills, they can pass on their knowledge to newer, less experienced employees.
Being too “salesy” is a losing strategy. Shifting to a needs-focused, low-pressure, transparent, magnetic approach, combined with proper sales leadership development will help you win.
At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow.