We’re beginning to get to grips with sales in 2023 but many salespeople are looking at their targets and feeling anxious about the challenging times ahead.
I’ve already delivered a few sessions this year and the same three questions keep cropping up, so I’m sure lots of salespeople out there are asking the same things. So what are the hottest topics of sales 2023 conversations? Keep reading to find out the questions, my answers and a few suggestions.
How do I get more money this year from customers I’ve worked with for ages?
Salespeople often form close relationships with their longstanding clients. Going back into overt ‘sales mode’ can feel awkward. The trick here is to re-frame the conversation. Don’t make it about selling, make it about helping.
Sales 2023: The Flume Approach
- Ask your client for a meeting and stress that you won’t be discussing business as usual at all.
- Remind them at the meeting that your purpose is always to help them in their role. Tell them that in order to do that this year, you need to know what they’ve got going on. What would a great year look like for them? What do they need to achieve? What’s their planned approach? What challenges are they likely to face?
- Use what you learn to position any additional products and services. These aren’t things that you want to sell, these are things that are going to help them succeed.
- Discuss how best you can work together this year and agree what happens next.
I’ve got loads of opportunities in my pipeline that have gone cold. What do I do?
Every salesperson will start the year with a bunch of clients who’ve gone quiet. The typical approach is to chase them. However, often those emails and calls go unanswered and the opportunity eventually moves to ‘closed lost’. The problem here is that the client has run into some challenges but they don’t feel comfortable telling you. Maybe they’d overstated their ability to get the deal signed off? Maybe something’s changed with their business? Maybe they’re talking to another provider? Maybe they were never 100% sold in the first place?
To get things moving again, you need to make it easy for the client to respond and be honest about the situation. Only then can they take the right action. Try this:
- Message the client and re-state how keen you are to help them achieve whatever they need to achieve.
- Acknowledge that the conversation has lost some momentum.
- Explain that this is common.
- Say something like:
- “In my experience that tends to be because of x, y, and z…”
- “Can you let me know which of those issues you’re facing and we can work out the best next step”
The best case here is that the salesperson uncovers and overcomes the underlying challenge. The worst case is that a dead opportunity comes out of the pipeline and the sales forecast becomes more accurate.
It looks like it’s going to be a tough year for sales in 2023. What should I do differently?
We know we’re in for some tough times ahead, recession or not. That makes buying harder for buyers and selling harder for sellers. However, there is also opportunity. For buyers, the importance of a great sales experience has increased. This is good news for strong salespeople. They are likely to pull away from the pack this year. It’s not simply a case of doing things differently, it’s about consistently delivering the best sales experience to buyers. Here are some tips:
- Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes: See things from their perspective. Understand their challenges and that they, too, are anxious. Budgets are being cut and everyone has to do more with less.
- Target what’s going on in their world right now: What your clients needed 6 months ago is not the same today – so don’t position your product the same way. Do your research, find out what they need now, and pinpoint the difference you can make to them personally.
- Build relationships with the wider stakeholder group: Buying committees are getting bigger, with higher level stakeholders. Don’t just single thread your deal but build relationships with the different influencers and find out what is important to them all.
- Build the case for change: A buyer will only change supplier if they have a compelling reason to do so. Take the time to identify the performance gap they are facing. Explore and explain the impact to them of not changing. Use storytelling to create light bulb moments in the client’s mind.
- Build the buyer’s confidence in their decision. Ask questions, find out what they need and make solid recommendations that solve their issues. Make the purchase as easy as possible for them.
- Look back as well as forward: Don’t think only of future sales. Get the client to look back at what they have gained by working with you. Show the value of sticking with you before even thinking of new sales opportunities.
Remember, don’t sell. Help.
Head of Sales Performance
+44 (0)7557 364 004
The Flume Approach
At Flume, we would argue that now is the time to ramp up your sales training, not cut the budget. Our game-changing Sales Training techniques have buyer-centric selling at their core, putting you into your customer’s shoes and offering a standout customer experience every time. To find out more, check out more of our blog, follow us on LinkedIn or reach out for a meeting. We’re here to listen and to help.