Every salesperson knows what they want in a client. Reps spend hours searching LinkedIn using specific keywords, titles, and more to identify perfect fit prospects. Then, their outreach campaign begins.
But what most reps forget about is what the prospect values. Sales is about relationships, so both sides need to be equally engaged.
Before a rep can begin reaching out, they need to understand what today’s buyer values. Here are five things modern buyers value above all else.
The information gap that once gave salespeople an edge over the buyer no longer exists. Prospects now have access to product information, pricing details, research, and more all at the click of a button. In fact, today’s buyer goes through nearly 60% of the sales process before they even talk to a rep, according to CEB.
But just because buyers can get content without the help of a salesperson doesn’t mean reps can’t facilitate the research process. Because buyers put a significant emphasis on content, consider sending a helpful piece of collateral to prospects, or even creating a blog post or case study.
A study conducted by Eccolo Media found that the two most important pieces of content to B2B buyers were white papers and case studies. Of the survey, 48% of respondents said case studies were “very” or “extremely” influential in their purchasing decision.
Sales used to be built on what the rep told the buyer about the product. Now, prospects conduct their own research, and use customer reviews -- what others say about the product -- in their buying decision.
Reviews play a major role in the sales funnel. In fact, according to a BrightLocal survey, 88% of respondents said they consulted a review prior to making a purchasing decision.
The reviews, however, go beyond the product. What a prospect or customer thinks of the rep herself also has bearing on buying decisions. A study from Nielsenfound that customers are four times more likely to buy when referred by a friend. And those referred customers have a lifetime value that’s 16% higher than non-referred clients. That’s a lot of money for the rep and the business.
Passion might be the most underrated tool on a salesperson’s belt , especially in B2B sales. A passionate sales rep is one who’s going to stand by their customer and work twice as hard to ensure that customer succeeds.
But what does passion look like? As Mark Hunter writes, “Passion in sales is evident when the salesperson takes the time to listen to their customer and attempts to really understand what it is they are looking for. It is displayed not only in the questions that are asked, but also in the tone of voice and body language the salesperson uses and the follow-up demonstrated after the sales call.”
To demonstrate passion, go beyond the sale and check in frequently. The best sales reps know their customer’s ongoing success is just as important as their own. By touching base frequently and ensuring that everything is going smoothly, they can showcase how invested they are in their customer.
4) Ability to listen
In order to truly understand a customer’s pain, reps must listen. Buyers value salespeople who listen to them, ask the right questions, and strive to solve for their specific needs. According to Dave Warawa, listening is the most important form of influence during the sales process.
The best way to showcase you’re listening is to ask the right follow up questions. These can include:
That situation sounds difficult; how did you get through that?
Just so I can understand better, do you mind repeating that?
What did you do next?
Would you rather buy from a sleazy smooth-talker, or someone who’s up front about who they are and what they do? It’s a no-brainer.
The honest sales rep doesn’t try to persuade a buyer one way or the other. They simply offer information to prospects throughout the sales process, and facilitate the buyer’s decision. Your best bet is to throw away the script, and simply solve for the customer.
The modern buyer values new things, and the modern rep needs to adjust accordingly. The relationship between these two continues to evolve. For now, a rep needs to have excellent content, strong reviews, and a few key traits to be successful.
Originally published Nov 27, 2015 7:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017