Take a look around your friendship circle. How many people are willing to pay a few extra cents per gallon for gasoline if a lower-priced station is nearby? How many people are willing to pay $70 dollars for a shirt if they can buy that same type of shirt of shirt for $20 dollars somewhere else?
Consumers have been more price sensitive than ever before. This means that buyers are paying more attention to the price of a product rather than focusing on other purchasing criteria such as the quality of a product.
How do salespeople respond to this?
According to Bill McCrary, founder and CEO of Sandler Training South Carolina, a Columbia-based professional services firm that specializes in leadership and sales force development, many things have changed throughout the years in the world of business.
In an interview for South Carolina Business Review, McCrary says, “people have less time to speak with salespeople. Furthermore, technology is coming to the equation in the last decade and people can do a lot of inquiry on the Internet. Almost 40% of the decision is sometimes made before the consumer contact the salesperson.”
Despite these changes, McCrary reminds salespeople that they need to be alert to a basic lesson from the world of sales, which is “listening to what your consumer has to say.”
“Salespeople are so intent on making their point and talking about their products and services, they do not involve prospects in a consultative collaborative conversation,” he said. “It helps them revisit areas of concern, possibility, cost savings and risk reduction.”
Since people do not have much time and are looking for cheaper prices, it is also important for the salesperson to have the ability to challenge different points of view in a direct way in order to attract the buyer’s attention.
McCrary advises, “the best salespeople need to get to these people with a provocative type of conversation that helps them see things from a totally different point of view, a point of view so different from any competitors that their believe system changes, they want to meet with you, they want to explore what you have and they are more likely to buy accordingly.”
Another important point mentioned in the interview was the value of metrics.
Salespeople as well as sales managers should know the number of calls, visits, conversations, and new meetings. As McCrary says, those are the "leading indicators that drive sales performance."
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