The economy is doing well, unnecessary regulations have been rolled back, the stock market is soaring, unemployment is low, consumer confidence is up, manufacturing has returned, companies are investing in the American economy, businesses are confident about the future and tax cuts are about to make paychecks bigger for about 90% of all Americans. What will consumers do with that extra money? They'll spend it of course! As a result of these positive developments, what should you expect to happen from a sales perspective in 2018?
Companies are spending money, so that's a good thing. Executives whose past actions suggested that your product or service was nice to have, but not a must have, might want to buy it this year! Companies that didn't have budgets during the past few years might have budgets this year. Decision makers who didn't have enough in their budgets may have a surplus this year. There will be plenty of money to go around. Hallelujah!
Warning: Don't get too excited. While companies will be buying and spending, it doesn't mean that your company will get the business. More buying and spending means more competition and with the internet, companies need not be local in order to compete for and win that business.
With the availability of money and additional competition, I can tell you this. If you aren't the low price leader, the best-known company, or the safest decision that a buyer can make, you will have to do some real SELLING to get that business. And not just selling, but thoughtfully, effectively, efficiently, and articulately selling value. What? You already sell value? Really? I'll bet you don't. I'll bet the salespeople in your company talk about value and justify your pricing, but talking about value is not selling value. Do you ever tell prospects that you will be competitively priced? Then you're not selling value. Do you ever discount your price? Then you're not selling value. Do you ever make exceptions to your pricing? Then you're not selling value.
Selling value is extremely challenging for most companies because on it's own, it doesn't translate to a sale. Selling value is an approach in a sales process with a consultative methodology that supports selling value. You are undoubtedly familiar with the nuclear triad, and the combination of a consultative sales process, value selling approach and a consultative selling methodology is the selling equivalent. It's the sales triad!
Companies that still take a transactional approach to selling may have very difficult year when it comes to acquiring new business and retaining existing business. This will be the year that sales dinosaurs become extinct. In 2015 I wrote that 1 million salespeople would become obsolete by 2020. Not only has the time come, it has come earlier than expected and it came for many more than 1 million salespeople. This year, I predict that 3 million salespeople will either lose their jobs to the internet or to salespeople who can sell consultatively and sell value.
Whether it's professional sales training or sales coaching, your sales managers will play a major role in this transition. Your sales managers can get a jump start on this by attending my annual public Sales Leadership Intensive on May 22-23 outside of Boston. As of this writing (January 29) there are just 7 seats remaining so you'll need to act quickly. Learn more at http://kurlanassociates.com/sales-leadership-event. Register here.
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