How To Sell In A Challenging Environment
Selling used to be easy. But now? Not so much. We’re selling in a challenging environment unlike anything else. Not only is there an entirely different generation that’s 10 to 15 years younger than the Baby Boomers, but we’re also dealing with social distancing guidelines and a global pandemic.
If you’ve never sold in a challenging environment before, this year has most likely brought you a crash course in selling. Unfortunately, you may not have been given the best information. At Ingage, we’ve spent years researching the best sales methods and we’ve come up with the perfect formula. We recently talked to Brian, CEO of Tundraland Home Improvements, a home improvement company. He has over 70 salespeople and he brought up some great points on how to sell an unfinished product in a challenging environment. If you’re struggling to sell in a challenging environment, follow our guide with Brian’s advice below.
Different Types of Challenging Environments
A challenging environment doesn’t necessarily mean just the new generation or pandemic. In fact, one of the biggest challenges our customers face is trying to sell an unfinished product or service. Selling an unfinished product, as Tundraland does with a home renovation service, is difficult because you’re selling a dream or idea. Instead of handing over a finished product, the potential customer has to trust you to do what’s best for them.
Selling a service is already challenging, but it has been exacerbated by the pandemic. When you used to be able to present to someone in person, you could rely on your charisma or classic sales tactics. Now, you aren’t able to do that. Instead, you have to rely on new, modern sales tactics and presentation software to get your point across.
Combine the unfinished product with the pandemic and a new generation, and those who have sold successfully in the past are tripping up and not closing enough deals. So, what do you have to do?
Change the Way You Sell
When you hit a roadblock due to a challenging environment, you have to be willing to change the way you sell. Here’s the thing - people love to buy stuff, but they hate to be sold. The smarmy sales tactics of the past won’t benefit your company. In fact, overly-aggressive salespeople and don’t-quit-attitude methods only hurt your company in the long run. Many people see sales and marketing tactics as a threat to their well-being. If you want to close more deals in today’s world, you have to change the way you sell. Here’s what our research at Ingage has shown:
Selling is a science, not an art form
Some people dress well, smell good, and smile big. But that’s not a sales tactic, that’s articulation. True selling can be broken down into a science. All that needs to happen are these two things:
- Understand what statements your prospective customers are saying
- Ask open-ended questions
Be a good communicator
Whenever you speak to someone, some type of sales exchange happens. Whether it’s a relationship being formed, a date being asked, or something actually being sold, an exchange is occurring. The best salespeople are good communicators. This is because you need to get answers out of your sales prospect. It’s more important to hear what your prospective customer is saying than for them to hear what you’re saying. Communicate their wants and needs with them.
Look at your insights
It used to be difficult to look at sales insights. CEOs can’t be in every meeting, and just whether or not something was sold doesn’t actually tell us anything about the sales process. With Ingage’s in-depth analytics dashboard, you can see exactly where there might be a lull in the presentation. This will allow you to determine what needs to be done to fix these issues so you can close more deals.
Focus on solving problems, not selling
Your prospective customers came to you because they have a problem. Maybe they need new floors, maybe they need something completely renovated. If you’re selling a service, focus on solving their problem first. If you only focus on yourself and your company, the customer feels like they aren’t a priority. Listen to them and focus on solving the problem they came to you with. You close more deals that way.
Perfect your presentation
If you’re selling a service, you’re selling the dream, and you need to show that dream. This is something Tundraland realized. Many people use PowerPoint to try and present their service, but this is limited. You have to go through the slides in order, and if the customer gets bored at slide 20, you can’t just skip ahead to the last slide. Instead, Tundraland uses Ingage to take the customer on a journey. The software is easy to use and allows you to truly personalize each digital presentation for the customer. You don’t have to go through the slides in order. It’s adaptive, and the customer gets to see exactly what they want and nothing more.
Train your salespeople
Nothing replaces competent sales training. But, how do you know if your training is actually working? Ingage software can help train and onboard new salespeople. Charley Goldberg, who has worked with Ingage and Brian at Tundraland, says that Ingage can actually cut down on your onboarding time by a couple of days. Ingage can help train your salespeople by looking at past presentations, but you can also use the software to present onboarding in an easy to understand way.
How to Sell in a Challenging Environment Summary
- Don’t rely on old sales tactics
- Understand your customer and ask open-ended questions
- Communication is imperative to closing the deal
- Regularly check your insights to see what is and isn’t working
- Be a problem solver rather than a pushy salesperson
- Focus on creating an interactive presentation that engages the audience
- Train your salespeople with these new modern methods
If you’re selling in a challenging environment, you can’t discount the power of a digital presentation. To hear more about how we can help your sales team close more deals and update their sales tactics, sign up for a demo.
More From Dave Yoho
Dave Yoho Associates has been developing sales systems for companies within the industry for over 50 years. To download their best-selling recording “The 7 Myths of In-Home Selling”, visit www.daveyoho.com/mp3.php and scroll to the bottom of the page.