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Guidance on leadership development & strategic planning.

Have You Been Called “Salesy”? Here’s How to Start Selling More Naturally

By Leadership Resources 04/10/2020
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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.

How to Have More Natural Sales Language

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.

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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.

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3 Innovative Ways Your Team Can Test a New Product Idea

By Leadership Resources 03/11/2019
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If you’re in the business of developing new products, it’s not always easy to know if an idea will be a winner. In fact, you can’t really know if a new product will sell until it’s out in the market and the numbers start rolling in. This is why it’s so important to thoroughly test an idea before sending it out into the world for public consumption. After all, you wouldn’t drive or walk across a bridge that hadn’t been stress tested beforehand.

But how exactly should you go about testing an idea? Let’s look at 3 innovative ways you and your team can test a new product idea.

How to Test a Product Idea

1. Ask Your Team: What Problem is Being Solved?

A successful product tends to solve a common problem, no matter how small. Therefore, this should be the starting point of your discussion with your project management team. Hold a brainstorming session where each team member individually writes down what problem they think the product will solve. Then, discuss each team member’s answers to see if there are any glaring differences. If one or more team members can’t come up with an answer, there may be a problem with the product idea itself.

Running this team management exercise will help foster a productive discussion that can help hone in on the product’s main function and trim its fat. A product may, in fact, be useful for solving multiple problems. But it’s important to know this beforehand so the marketing team can craft a strategy that touches on all of these aspects.

2. Hire a Focus Group

Ultimately, you want your product to appeal to a wide group of people once it’s on the market. Holding several meetings with your team is great for cultivating a team culture, but it’s not enough to get a sense of how consumers will feel about your product. Hiring a focus group can be a powerful way to get objective, external feedback on your new product idea.

Focus groups come in all shapes and sizes. They might be made up of a random selection of people, or they might be a more targeted group based on the product’s ideal market demographic. Those in the group can learn about the product, test it out, and give direct feedback to a moderator. Participants are also often encouraged to speak with one another about their experience. These conversations can reveal powerful insights into a product’s shortcomings and strong points.

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3. Test it in the Field

Focus groups provide one way to let several people try out your new product idea in a controlled setting. But why not also take your product out of the office and out into the world? Nothing is stopping you from going up to people and asking them if they’d like to try a sample of something or play around with a product for a little bit. You can even incentivize them with discounts or other offers. This is also a good exercise in sales leadership training.

If a product hasn’t been built yet and is still in the design phase, you can still test the idea by asking people if they would be interested in such a product. If enough people show interest, it’s a good indicator that the idea has value. You might then move forward with an online presale campaign that allows consumers to invest in the idea and receive the product once completed.

If you’re not around enough people to test out your product or answer your questions, try calling and emailing potential leads, asking them if they would be interested in receiving a product from you free of charge. In exchange, you can ask them to send back their thoughts on the product. Combining this feedback with your focus group results will give you the optimal pool of data to improve or change your product idea.

New product ideas are improved over time with the help of many people, both internally and externally. A large part of leadership development is understanding the importance of this additional input. Even if you’re in charge of overseeing the new product idea, it takes more than one person to bring that idea to its fullest potential.

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.

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