Volumes have been written about the art of sales. Most sales professionals use tactics like learning the customer’s source of “pain,” handling objections and closing the sale. Combined with a persuasive sales presentation, building trust and delivering excellent service, these time-tested tactics work well. However, in a tight economy, with buyers more reluctant to open their wallets, it may take some new strategies.
Companies are taking to the Internet and YouTube to gain interest and excitement about their products. Old Spice, one of the standards in men’s aftershave and cologne products, has a whole new marketing campaign that has gone viral, featuring Terry Crews making “muscle music.” In her article in Entrepreneur, “3 Creative Ways to Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone," Nadia Goodman suggests three ways that businesses and CEOs are getting out of their comfort zones to ramp up their sales. These tactics could help sales professionals boost sales and gain new perspective.
- “Take an improv class.” Nothing forces you out of your comfort zone than getting up on stage in front of a bunch of people and acting like a blooming flower or a cartoon character. You may not think that will help improve your sales presentations, but think again. Improv helps spark creativity, see things from another perspective and adapt to different situations. It also helps you express your ideas with words, body language and emotion. This exercise can put life and passion into your presentations, help relate to your prospects on a different level and help put you at ease in tough situations.
- “Switch places with the receptionist.” You may be out in the trenches everyday meeting prospects, but back at the office or headquarters, someone else is answering the phone, filling orders and handling emails and calls from customers and suppliers. You may lose a day of sales, but you can gain a new perspective on what it’s like to have to process what you sell. Many times sales people, in an effort to make the sale and please the customer will “over-promise,” leaving the rest of the team to scramble trying to deliver to the customer’s expectations. If nothing else, you’ll gain an appreciation for how hard the support staff works to make you successful in the field.
- “Open yourself up to scrutiny.” No one likes criticism, but constructive feedback can make you aware of things you’re doing that drive customers away and lose business. It may be failing to give enough information or following up in a timely manner. Do you promise customers what the company or product can’t deliver? Ask the home office staff, customers, peers and your boss to give you some honest feedback and suggestions on how to improve. Honestly consider the feedback and set some goals to make positive changes.
We’ve all heard the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Sure, the sales process you’ve used for the last 20 years made you a decent living, but times are changing. Even in 2012, there are business people who don’t even use email. If you’ve never heard of inbound marketing or SEO, it’s time to take a giant step out of your comfort zone and get in the digital game. Examine the boundaries of your comfort zone and explore ways to expand the zone and embrace some new ideas.