Making sales today is about value, not free gifts

By

July 17, 2017

The age of the informed consumer has changed the rules of marketing and sales forever. In fact, some argue that information has killed the salesman stone dead.

Today, a potential client can read about your service offerings online, check your financial planning credentials and scan client reviews before speaking to you. This means they’ve built a mental picture of your business before they engage. There’s less requirement to sell to them, because they’re more educated as a general rule.

While it is fair to say that online automation has also minimised the need for some traditional sales techniques, there’s plenty of evidence that more consumers have simply outgrown the aggressive foot-in-the-door sales tactics of the past.

Notwithstanding these developments, there will continue to be a role for clever sales strategies in attracting clients and leads to your business.

Relationships are still important, as long as you add value

The right personality will continue to be the ‘it’ factor that sets outstanding sales people apart. As a sales person, you still need to be engaging enough for a client to warm to you but don’t rely on the sunny disposition of your sales team alone to drive business your way. Expert salespeople must add value for your clients.

Typically, this value could be generated by under-promising and consistently over-delivering. It may involve connecting clients with complimentary services such as accounting, legal services, mortgage broking, business and marketing consulting or business broking. Whatever it is, it must be focused on delivering additional value to a client that they won’t be able to find elsewhere.

 Death to discounting

‘Always be closing.’ This common sales adage needs a fresh look. Now I’m not going to suggest that trying to close a sale is a flawed technique. Clearly it’s not. But you should take a strategic approach to the way you close a deal or sale.

In the past, discounting was a favoured closure strategy – but today, shaving your prices to win a sale is less effective than ever. In fact, I’d recommend against it. In our consulting business, we never discount, as we know the value of what we provide. We focus on demonstrating this value and the outcomes our services produce for clients.

Keep the free iPad in your business and expunge the “10 per cent off” deals. Focus on how much value you can provide to your customers and you’ll find that the selling process becomes much easier.



About The Author /

Anthony O'Brien is a principal of corporate marketing and communications firm Corpwrite. He is a business and personal finance writer with experience extending over 20 years in the communication industry. He is presently the small business writer for Money magazine and has contributed regularly to a range of other publications including Charter, The Australian Worker, INTHEBLACK, Rugby League Week, Jetstar Magazine, Australian Way and The Bulletin. O'Brien also worked as a reporter with NBN on its nightly television news service. O'Brien is a published author, working with leading finance commentator Paul Clitheroe AM, chairman of the Australian Government Financial Literacy Board, to co-author Make your Fortune by 40 (Viking 2001) and Road to Wealth (Viking 2000). Prior to launching into self-employment in 1999, O'Brien worked in a diverse range of corporate communication roles for IBM, Link Telecommunications, BT Australia, several NSW state politicians and a number of PR firms.