With the 2012 Olympics in full force, and because The Hunger Games is still lingering in my mind, I’ve been hooked on archery.
The archery competition proved to be a hot competition at the Olympics. Italy won its first gold medal in the sport, winning by a single point. At that point, I started thinking about how similar archery is to sales.
There are three fundamental keys to hitting your sales target every time. I call it the Ready, Aim, Fire method.
When IDC did a study of B2B buyers, only 16% said sales people were highly prepared for an initial meeting. Only 15% are well prepared to engage them, according to Forrester Research. I tell my sales team never to call anyone if they aren’t 100% sure the lead will buy.
As you can imagine, this causes many raised eyebrows. My point is that they need to go in completely ready to speak to prospects’ needs. They do this through research – research that answers three fundamental questions: Who is the prospect? Why are you calling them? What's in it for them?
Being ready is one thing, but focus is paramount if you’re going to hit your target. That same IDC study found 40% of buyers wished that their sales person would kill the "canned pitch."
The customer already knows they have a problem. You don’t need to tell them that. You also don’t need to start the meeting with a recap about your company. Prospects want knowledge and insights that lead them to your solutions, they don’t want you to lead with your solution.
Sales people who make their number tell the buyer something that they do not already know. They have a prescriptive process and approach to winning buyer confidence. You should aim to be a “trusted advisor” to prospects.
A true sales pro never assumes anything, especially in a competitive market. You can’t just shoot once, but over and over again. That means staying in front of prospects by supplying them with education and insight. It also means engaging those influencing the buyer’s decision-making process.
You’ll want to partner closely with marketing to get access to approved and branded messaging from blogs, press releases, case studies, industry news, etc, rather than spending an hour creating the perfect email. (I use Eloqua Engage.)
This is the formula that I find helps bring home the gold. What’s your approach to closing sales in a competitive environment?
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