Sales have gone on for centuries. From the forums of Rome to the merchants of Venice, trade has been an ancient art that has brought civilizations together. With each trade, there must have been a salesman bringing their wares to the marketplace, looking around to see how they could make a difference in the lives of their clients.
An ancient tradition has come with its ingrained rules and practices. Yet as the world evolves to a series of digital networks, even this set of traditions has to adapt and change.
Everybody wants to sell more. Your performance reviews demand it. Your salary or your business depends on it. Maybe you derive happiness from doing it well.
Here’s how you can sell more by selling less.
People always talk about sales automation software and customer relationship management databases (CRM), but that’s only half the picture. These cutting-edge tools are only useful if you combine them with the age-old lessons learned through plain human connection.
We’ll start there:
1 – Focus on providing value
Almost every guide to networking, relationship building, or sales starts with this simple rule: if you’re looking to provide value rather than get it, you’ll be well on your way to building meaningful win-win relationships. It’s much better to create mutually beneficial relationships where you add as much value as you get. It’ll mean the difference between you selling a five dollar widget once —or partnering with that somebody to create a widget factory.
Steve Blank, a famous entrepreneurship mentor and the creator of the Customer Development methodology that preceded the Lean Startup movement, the foundation of the success of technology giants such as Facebook, put it bluntly when asked how people could get meetings with him, people usually too busy to see you or anybody else.
He said to get a meeting with him, you have to teach him something he doesn’t know.
He doesn’t want money or equity in your venture. He wants to know that you’re looking to provide value to everybody you meet. He wants to know that you’ll pay it forward, and that you’re looking to build meaningful, mutually beneficial relationships.
Focus on building value and you’ll get meetings with people too busy to see you. The rest will come.
2 – Stop looking just for sales
When he was looking for money to fundraise from American Express, Kiip CEO Brian Wong didn’t ask for money. He asked for advice. It was a cold email, but by following the tenet that you “If you ask for money, you get advice. If you ask for advice, you get money.”, he was able to close fundraising with some of the busiest people in the world.
The truth of the matter is that if you’re looking only to close sales, that’ll become readily apparent. Focus on building relationships outside of dollar signs and treating clients like the people they are rather than just a number.
People often make decisions based on factors beyond the numbers themselves, from trust to the amount of rapport built between you and a customer. If you stop looking to make sales all the time and start treating prospects like friends, you’ll be on much stronger footing to close mutually beneficial deals.
3 – Learn more, sell less
Many sales methodologies focus on learning from clients, and no wonder. Every client has a pain point they want to solve: it’s only by listening to them that you can uncover what that pain is and how you can solve it.
If you’ve focused on providing value and stopped looking just for sales, you’ll have established a relationship with the client which allows them to trust you with what they really think. And when you ask them for real insightful feedback, you’ll get everything they love about the product–and what they need for it to fit their needs perfectly.
Spend more time researching exactly what the customer needs rather than filling the space with sales prompts. When you’re ready to close a deal, you’ll know exactly what your clients want. They’ll be ready to trust you with the solution you’ll provide.
4 – Use automation in the right way
Now comes sales automation software, the sales automation tools that will save you time while closing you more deals. If you’ve embraced the magic of relationship building you shouldn’t view sales automation software as a shortcut around the hard work needed to build the relationships you need to succeed. You should view it as a way to have the time to create networking magic at scale.
Sandi MacPherson of Quibb sends a personalized message to everybody who registers to her curated sharing network of experts. The team at Crew, a marketplace for premium high-end freelance designers, sends a personalized handwritten greeting card to their paying customers.
In order for you to replicate that personal magic, you need to automate away the painful logistics.
You need a place to store all the information and insight you’ve gotten from each client. You need a way to reach out to them easily whether it’s their birthday or you’re looking to close a deal, or you want to share with them something of value. That’s where CRM and sales automation software should come into play.
Imagine a database of all of your relationships with reminders to reach out, and different views to see how you’re doing with all of them. KarmaCRM is the first sales automation software built expressly to make sales more human and focused on relationship building.
Once you start using KarmaCRM, you can use software like Mailchimp to send out email newsletters and Mention to track when your clients are talking about you. By taking away all the hard work and logistics of tracking and recording customers and their insights, sales automation allows you to focus on anything but sales as you build meaningful long-term relationships at scale.
If you focus on providing value, look to do more than just close a sale, learn more and sell less, and use sales automation in the right way you’ll sell more by selling less.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments: how would you sell more with sales automation software?
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