The hard sell
The hard sell was a sales technique used by companies until recently. Now it’s time to say goodbye to the old fashioned way of selling.
Over the past decade the industry has learnt that building trust and sustainable relationships with clients from the start is more beneficial, it promotes client longevity, referrals and repetitive business.
Pushy techniques push prospects away
Gone are the days of the hard sell, in fact consumers react badly to pushy sales reps and are more likely to back off.
Modern day lifestyles means consumers are far too busy and stressed to listen to pushy sales reps.
Furthermore, it adds to consumer frustration, stress levels and consequently, it increases suspicion towards the product, sales person and company.
Pushy or not pushy? That’s the question
Alarmingly, research suggests that 50% of B2B prospects believe that salespeople are pushy, but only 17% of sales professionals consider themselves pushy. After all, the customer is always right, so something needs to change.
So what has changed in the way we sell?
Competition, variety, global, marketing tools, the list is endless. Besides, look back 20-30 years ago, the internet was just getting started and access to a PC, laptop or mobile phone was limited.
Discount stores and supermarket competition was half of what it is now and marketing came in the form of leaflets or adverts in local papers and were restricted to local communities.
Sales professionals were pressured to sell a product and were forced to make an immediate impact on the consumer.
Unfortunately, the sales industry received a bad reputation for using their hard sell techniques and were deemed too pushy and untrustworthy.
Competition is vast, there is always the next big trend waiting in the wings.
The tech and electronic sector is the biggest in terms of turnaround and upgrades and the competition to produce the next best thing is fierce.
The battle of the superstore vs high street is at it’s peak and advancements in technology allows product awareness to reach the far corners of the globe.
The discount store vs brand stores
The rise of discount stores, who are under-cutting the cost of products compared to independent and brand stores, results in the high street having to work harder to market their products and convince the consumer to spend a little more money.
Consumers now have a wider choice of products and places to buy from the comfort of their front rooms.
It is now easier to do business globally, the reach and speed of the internet means that you can attract consumers from around the world.
Social media allows business to market their products through several avenues, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.
Networking is now targeted and is able to reach anywhere in the world, no longer limiting businesses to local or national audiences.
The all-important ‘Word of mouth’
Never under estimate the power of word of mouth. Research suggests that retention rates are 37% higher than non-referred customers.
The recommendation of a company through a friend or colleague will install trust and reliability and is four times more likely to convert to a sale. The Wharton School of Business found that referrals have a 16% higher lifetime value than a non-referred customer.
Fundamentally, it enforces the importance of building a relationship and generates a ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ mentality.
Your existing customer base is your best opportunity to get referrals. Research suggests that 83% of customers are willing to refer but only 29% actually do.
Encouraging your existing clients, partners and investors to refer your offering is key.
The industry has recognised that there is a need to adapt to new methods of selling and to focus building relationships from the start and not to focus on the end point.
The modern sales professional is changing their image and ditching the shiny suits, the cheeky chappy banter and is now far more transparent, relaxed, approachable and gender balanced.
Research Runner provides sales advice and specialise in lead generation and new business. Please visit us at www.research-runner.com or give us a call on +44 (0)1279 260 031.