The world turned upside down in 2020 with the pandemic forcing many people to work from home in ways they’ve never done before. For people in sales, this has been particularly challenging, especially if they’ve not had formal training in this new approach or are being thrown into this new way of selling for the first time.
It’s important to figure out ways to create a digital sales culture – the “big picture” – while at the same time providing practical training and ongoing support for sales people working in this newer format. Without good training and “best practices,” here are five ways to fail at digital sales.
- Have a ho-hum LinkedIn profile – or not be on LinkedIn at all
For any sales person, whether they’re selling health insurance, financial services, hardware, software, or just needing to look professional, it’s critical to have a solid LinkedIn profile page. Why? Because the first thing a thoughtful prospective customer or client will do is look you up on LinkedIn.
It’s not important that you have lots of followers, or lots of content that you’re posting. What is important is that you look professional, trustworthy, and dependable. People want to do business with people they like, know, and trust. Does your LinkedIn profile do that for you? If not, it’s time for a makeover.
2) The chest-beating approach to selling
Too often, especially with big companies, the emphasis is on “our exciting new product” or release. Or why they’re so great. Their messaging is “We’ve been around for over (x number) years, so buy from us.”
Your prospective clients or customers don’t want to be “sold to.” No one does. Think about it – do you like being on the receiving end of this type of chest-beating, self-serving sales tactic?
And who cares how long your company has been around? Or that you’ve just come out with your shiny new product? The question on your prospect’s mind is – what will you be doing for me?
3) Ask someone to connect on LinkedIn – and then pitch your product/service
I am, personally, sick and tired of all the sales people asking to connect with me on LinkedIn, only to then share the wonderful service they have that I should be interested in. Stop. Just stop. No one likes this approach and we’re all tired of it.
Social selling is definitely something that works – but not that way. So don’t keep doing it over and over and expect brilliant results. It may work every once in a while but that’s no way to grow your pipeline dependably.
4) Start off an email to someone like me with “Hey Janet”
For anyone over the age of 50, an email that starts with “Hey Janet” is – in our minds – insulting. You’ve lost me at hello.
But that isn’t the case for many Millennials – so what I’m stressing here is that you need to know your audience. Blanket communications without any awareness of your target audience simply proves, from the beginning of the conversation, that you don’t care about that person as an individual. They’re one of many and you’re taking the shotgun approach to sales. Like the blanked social selling that’s going on now, it may work some of the time, but it’s not an approach that will make you consistent in your sales – or help you grow a business significantly.
5) Assume that snarky sells
The biggest mistakes that professional sales people make is treating people in ways they, themselves would not want to be treated and, similarly, not recognizing that everyone is different. For example, an email series (such as a nurture program) that gets hostile over time (why didn’t you read my last email? Why aren’t you responding?) is not going to be effective. In fact, many of these nurture email programs are now so pushy – I’m wondering who would actually want to receive them, much less respond?
Similarly, the writing tone in all your messages needs to be carefully crafted to your ideal audience, and not necessarily “what you’re comfortable saying.” That means a humorous, cute, or snarky approach may appeal to you and your contemporaries – but it may boomerang on an audience that isn’t, well, just like you.
The fastest way to fail in digital sales is to approach everyone the same way, in a non-personalized approach. That’s so 2010. It’s time to realize that people now expect to be approached in a way that suits them. And the longer you flounder in doing so, the longer it will take for you to be successful in digital sales.
Not sure how to make this work for you or your sales team? Contact me and let’s talk about it.