Sales is Not a ‘Churn and Burn,’ It’s a Partnership
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
As the world evolves in the way we buy and sell, now more than ever is the time for sales teams to focus on relationships and genuinely understanding the needs of our customers in order to fulfill their needs, and provide them with solutions to help expand their businesses.
To that end, in a recent AdVic “Salesforce Simplified” podcast, Diane Helbig, Chief Improvement Catalyzer at Helbig Enterprises, explained – among other things – the importance of sales teams engaging with prospects to gain accurate insight into their needs, along with the parallels that come with relationship development and business growth.
What are sales managers getting right and wrong these days?
“What they are getting right is that they understand that sales is about relationships and that it’s important for their salespeople to be out having conversations with people who may or may not be prospects. The ones that are doing it right also understand that continuing to nurture those relationships is really important. It’s just not hunt and kill. It’s hunt, kill, nurture, because more business comes from those relationships.
“I would say the ones who are doing it wrong are the ones who are expecting their salespeople to behave in ways that are unnatural for that salesperson. That they’re saying, ‘Do it my way. It worked for mem so do this,’ and that behavior isn’t right for that salesperson, and so they try. They struggle. They don’t succeed. They leave. And there’s that revolving door thing in the sales department that actually negatively impacts the company on a huge level. I mean, outside of the cost of that, there’s a reputation cost that goes along with it.”
- Understand the importance of building and maintaining relationships.
- From existing relationships comes opportunity for growth in new relationships.
- Allow flexibility; salespeople should have the flexibility to communicate with prospects in a way that they are comfortable.
- Not allowing individuality can negatively impact business.
What are your top tips for struggling companies to help them increase their sales productivity and bring those deals to a close?
“I think my biggest tip is listen more than you speak, ask really meaningful questions, and make sure you get answers to them. I think a lot of times the reason why salespeople aren’t able to close is because they might ask a somewhat uncomfortable question like about the budget. And when the prospect doesn’t answer it, they move on instead of really going to that topic and understanding that… The salesperson has to know the answers to all of the questions in order to be able to propose accurately, so make sure that you’re asking the questions. And if the prospect is uncomfortable answering it, ask them why. This is about a relationship. You’re allowed to say, ‘Could you help me understand why this is a subject that you don’t feel comfortable talking about or that you don’t feel comfortable sharing with me? Because in order for me to determine whether I can help you or not, I need to know the answer to this.’”
- Listen to understand.
- Ask necessary and ‘hard’ questions to correctly understand customer needs.
Has the way companies hire salespeople changed in recent years?
“That’s such an interesting question. A lot of companies are looking for those people who understand it’s not one and done. It’s not churn and burn. That their job is not to be slick and eloquent and persuasive. That their job really is to partner with the prospect to problem solve. And that it is about the relationship and that’s what sets the company in the best possible light. They are looking for a different kind of salesperson and thank goodness because it’s more effective.”
Companies have come to the realization that salespeople should:
- Understand the importance of long-lasting relationships.
- Know that sales is a relationship that has potential to grow and multiply.
What’s the next big thing in the world of sales? What are you talking to your clients about?
“This may sound a little strange, but from everything I’m seeing, the trend is going toward getting very individually connected with clients, whether you sell B2B or B2C, really getting in there and learning as much as you can about them, about what they need as it relates to what you do, but also what they need as it doesn’t relate to what you do, and being that partner with their client.
“Being a problem solver for the client on a greater scale makes that relationship deeper, more sustainable and longer term, and it opens up a lot more opportunity than the way sales has been in the past with getting the business and then moving on.”
- Customize client interactions; know who you are selling to.
- Provide solutions to your clients.
Reach Diane Helbig via the Helbig Enterprizes website.
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