This article was originally posted on March 25, 2019 by Lance Tyson in SellingPower
I’m addicted to my Fitbit. It keeps my diet on track, helps me work out longer and more frequently, and basically keeps me on my game regardless of whether I’m at home or on the road.
But the thing I love the most about my Fitbit is that it’s mine and mine alone. Even though the basic hardware is off the shelf, it feels like it’s been tailored just for me because it uses my unique data.
Devices like Fitbit have inspired a wave of interest in products and solutions that feel tailored. In this era of 24/7 connectivity, the sales process needs to be tailored in a similar fashion.
Buyers are armed with more information than they would have been in the past, which gives them an advantage. When buying a product online, 92 percent of consumers spend time reading online reviews ahead of time – and 40 percent of those consumers form an opinion by reading just 1-3 reviews. They read those reviews, insert their own confirmation biases, and make quick decisions based on how well they believe that product or solution will be customized for their own pre-determined needs before they even speak with a salesperson.
The ready availability of information is fundamentally changing how they buy, across the board. The biggest challenge for salespeople today is having to make constant decisions on the fly as they adapt to the needs of the buyer.
These are just a few of the factors that have turned selling into an “away game.” Just like a sports team must overcome a disadvantage when playing on the opponent’s field, salespeople need to be prepared to play on a dynamically changing field, adapting to what the buyer already knows or wants.
The Four Elements of Away-game Selling
In away-game selling, successful salespeople need to be more like the Waze App than a printed map. They need to constantly adjust in real time, based on the feedback they receive from the buyer and from other drivers, and continually update with relevant, customized information depending on where the buyer wants to go. That said, it’s essential for the salesperson to have a predictable process with repeatable steps.
There are four interrelated elements to the away-game sales process, shifting dynamically to accommodate one another in real time. Here are tips on how to succeed:
Understand the Buyer’s Mindset
The buyer’s mindset is like a prism through which to view the decision-making process. To align with what is in the buyer’s mind, you need to mirror every action that person would normally take when buying something: get the attention of prospects, qualify them to see if they fit the business parameters, engage them in some kind of request for their time, ask them a series of questions, and create a scenario in which you can present ideas and start to create an opportunity.
Develop a Strategy
To adapt to the buyer’s mindset, you need a sales strategy that is flexible enough to be tailored to individual clients, yet sturdy enough to be scalable and repeatable. Find a way to engage buyers in conversation and convince them you are a person worth listening to.
Employ Battle-Tested Tactics
Your sales strategy needs to be supported by a set of tried-and-true tactics: “If this, then that.” For example, if you get someone’s voicemail, what will you say? How will you start the sales conversation? If you encounter an objection about price, how will you respond? It’s important to have a deep repertoire of tactics for every step of the sales process, but it’s equally important to stay in the moment and continue looking for opportunities to adapt to the buyer’s mindset.
Hone Your Skills
You need a skill set that is versatile enough to support your process. The basic toolkit should include a range of skills, including verbal brevity, selling time and awareness, communicating value, resolving objections, facilitating, and selling over the phone vs. selling in person.
To win this game, you’ve got to be like the Waze app – find out where your buyer wants to go and identify and eliminate potential roadblocks or other issues that might get in the way. Learn more about the landscape continuously so you can adjust your strategy accordingly. Then, use your acquired tactics and skills to help buyers reach their destination.
To learn more about how away-game selling can give you a competitive edge, contact Tyson Group here.
Tyson Group received honorable mention in SellingPower’s prestigious list of Top 20 Sales Training Companies in 2018 and 2019 for excellence in sales training. Lance Tyson is a regular SellingPower blog contributor.