By ZoomInsights staff
Now, more than ever before, prospects already know a lot about your products (and your competitors’) before you talk to them for the first time. It’s changing the landscape, and the approach of sales professionals.
A survey by Sirius Decisions looked into the new mindset of these educated buyers. Sirius Decisions Managing Director John Neeson told ChiefMarketer magazine that while peer recommendations are important during the research phase, salespeople still play an important role at the decision-making stage. But doing so requires that you build trust with the prospect quickly. How?
More than a third of respondents to Sirius Decisions’ survey said that sales reps can earn trust by “demonstrating deep expertise about their industry.” Nesson told ZoomInsights the way to stand out is through research and the ability to use key concepts, terms and acronyms of the industry. He said you also need to demonstrate an understanding of any regulatory guidelines that a prospect company may need to operate within.
Considering buyers’ reluctance to reach out to vendors early in the process, it’s also imperative to draw prospects in by building a reputation as a thought leader. For instance, participate in relevant LinkedIn groups and discussions and become a valuable source of information to establish trust and credibility long before the first phone-call.
Familiarity with the prospect company
A third (33 percent) of survey respondents said vendors can develop trust by having a deep knowledge of their (the prospects’) companies. It’s no longer enough to take a quick look at the “about” page on a prospect company’s website. If you really want to build trust, you must dig deeper. Neeson suggests looking at annual reports, news articles, industry coverage of the company, market coverage of the company and more to get the information you need to set yourself apart. ZoomInfo Pro is one tool that can help. Its profiles include company background, competitors, size, etc. and even “clippings” of Web content that mentions the companies. Neeson also suggests that you learn the company’s competitive differentiators and convey how your product can help the company achieve its goals, overcome obstacles and stay true to its mission.
Slightly more than 20 percent of survey respondents said they want their salespersons to care about “the buyer’s personal success.” As Al Davidson wrote on Smallbizrends.com, “Too many sales reps pick up the phone and start making sales calls without really knowing anything about the person they’re calling. Don’t go into a sales call flying blind.”
Neeson echoed that you have to have an understanding of the prospect’s function or role within the organization and what motivates his or her decision-making process.
Here again, ZoomInfo Pro is a valuable tool. Its profiles of 65 million businesspeople include role information, as well as work and education history and much more.
Relationship is key
Closing a sale is about building a relationship, as it always has been. The only thing that has changed is that now you’re more likely to begin that process from a different starting point. This makes it more important than ever to know your prospects well and demonstrate trustworthiness as quickly as possible.