There are several truths about sales that we rarely acknowledge. The first is that, in sales, the competition isn't between two or more companies competing for a client's business. Nor is it a contest between two or more competing "solutions." Sales success is individual, making the contest between competing salespeople. This is one reason why you should focus on your client's sales experience, something we call the sales conversation.
Another truth, and one that also offers a lens through which to see why the sales experience is critical to success. The truth is that you will never win all the clients you want. Instead, you will win all the clients that want you. You create a preference when you provide a better sales experience. If you have wondered what the sales experience means, this post will help you understand. It will also help you close more deals and improve your close rates.
Why Buyers Reject Salespeople
HubSpot did a survey that shows that 71 percent of buyers prefer to avoid a salesperson. Instead, they want to do their own research, mostly on the internet. That is a large percentage of people whose actions show that they don’t believe salespeople contribute to the process. There is evidence that buyers don't like being pushed into the salesperson's process. Some percentage of millennials have suggested they prefer a salesperson-free buying experience, as they find the sales experience lacking.
When a conversation is a waste of time, the sales experience will not win you any accolades or new clients. When your contacts don't find value in the conversation, they look for a better sales experience.
How Valuable Is Your Sales Experience?
The sales experience is a way of measuring how valuable your contacts found the sales conversation. In B2B sales, every meeting either adds or subtracts from the sales experience. The more your client believes the time they spent with you was helpful, the better the sales experience. If a good sales experience means anything, it means your client benefited from giving you their time. You know you did well when your client agrees to a second meeting.
The opposite is also true. The meaning of a bad sales experience is one that creates no value for your contacts. When a contact has no interest and rejects a request for another meeting, it means that the sales conversation was lacking.
The Factors That Make Up the Sales Experience
There are several factors within your control that affect the sales experience. Each factor can be improved over time, meaning you can score points and create a preference to buy from you.
Educating Your Contacts
One of the easiest ways to improve your contacts’ experience of the sales conversation is to educate them on what they need to know to. This type of information is twofold:
- They need to understand why they are struggling to generate the results they need, and...
- They need to know how to make the best decisions for their company and their future outcomes.
The salesperson who believes the sales experience means talking about their company, their clients, and their products and services score poorly. First, no one finds this valuable. Second, all these facts are on your website. This legacy approach to sales is one of the main reasons buyers complain about the sales experience.
Helping with the Buyer's Journey
When a buyer doesn't often buy what you sell, you improve the experience by helping them start and complete their buyer's journey. This includes helping your contact identify and include the stakeholders they are going to need to succeed in their change initiative. Buyers who rarely make this type of purchase often know what better results they need, but they do not know how to make a plan to get there.
One reason companies have buyer's remorse is because, early on, they leave out people who should have been in meetings. Another is that they skip crucial internal conversations, including making certain your solution is something their team believes is right for them. The salesperson who doesn't do this work isn't providing an excellent sales experience or a complete sales conversation.
The consultative salesperson provides their clients with counsel and recommendations. To offer this level of advice, a salesperson needs to feel like a business advisor. To provide this sales experience, one must have enough knowledge and business acumen to offer their clients counsel.
Salespeople who lack business acumen are unaware of the extreme asymmetrical advantage it creates by improving the prospective client's trust and increasing the value a salesperson creates. When business acumen is missing, the salesperson is unarmed and will provide a poor sales experience.
The Meaning of The Sales Experience
Sales experience means the total value of the sales conversation to the contacts engaged with the salesperson. The more valuable your contacts find the time they spend with you, the greater the sales experience. Buyers often give a salesperson one meeting to test their ability to provide the right sales experience. The less valuable the sales experience, the more likely the salesperson fails their audition to be the client's new supplier.
The reason to focus on the sales experience and the sales conversation is there is no other vehicle to create value for your clients and prove that you are the right person to help them improve their results and produce the outcomes their company and their customers need. Most sales organizations don't recognize how lacking clients find the legacy approaches to sales. These older approaches don't create nearly enough value, nor do they provide the experience that would cause the client to buy from the salesperson and their company.
The best and fastest way to improve your sales results is to update your sales approach to a modern, value-creating approach.