The phone rang.
“Hello, this is Rhett,” Rhett answered.
It was Stacy, an old colleague of his. Ever since budget cuts forced her company to run on a skeleton structure, Stacy’s HR department has been buried in more work they can handle. Her company needs to implement a new human capital management program to help smooth things out, and she knew Rhett could recommend one.
Rhett has been working as a sales agent, presenting software solutions to corporations to solve their most complex productivity problems. Stacy trusted he was the right person to reach out to because he understands better than anyone how the sales world has transformed throughout the past decade.
This is the world we’re selling into:
Clients are overwhelmed. When a sales agent reaches out to them, they’ve often just come from more than a full day’s worth of presenters, all sharing ‘the most’ important details with them. Top that with too many meetings, demanding deadlines, a self-replenishing email inbox, competition for resources, and the number of people who now need to be involved in making a decision, and burnout is inevitable.
Clients feel like they’re never able to get ahead. The second they receive something complex from a sales agent, their day comes to a screeching halt. Feeling overwhelmed, they retreat. And the sale, which was once viable, is now impossible.
It affects even our best clients with good intentions. The information overload changes the way they think. So, in turn, sales agents need to change their behavior to cater to these needs.
Here are some examples of what sales agents need to do differently:
Get right to the point.
Rhett compiled some information on a few programs he determined to be a good fit for Stacy’s human capital management needs. He emailed her a short description of each with demo videos embedded into a cloud-based proposal. Unlike previous emails from other sales agents, which have PDF attachments collecting dust in her inbox, Stacy opened this one right away. She knew Rhett would respect her time by giving her all the key points without all the extra information.
Many times, sales agents want to focus on providing a buyer with a lot of “good information” because they think it will help them make more informed decisions, but the natural reaction is overload. An overloaded mind resists action — in this case, signing the deal.
Keep email messages between 60 and 90 words. Keep voicemails short: 15 to 20 seconds. If top companies can now tweet their message in 140 characters, agents can too.
Don’t request “just a little bit of their time.”
When clients feel pressured, they withdraw so they can get things done without interruptions. That’s why Stacy refused to return Scott’s calls. Scott had reached out to her to present a solution a few weeks ago, but it required two hours of her time and meeting in person. She didn’t have two hours. In fact, she had negative time at this point.
Rhett understood. He sent her the simple and clean presentation file she needed electronically. A table of contents helped guide her, and it was as if the document was its own sales agent walking her through the information.
Simplify the decision-making process.
Decisions are taking longer than ever. Now more risk-averse than ever, people want to spread out the decision-making powers, so there’s less risk involved. The best way to simplify the decision-making process is to walk each client through, step by step, but this doesn’t necessarily need to happen in-person.
The document Rhett sent Stacy wasn’t just a typical PDF. It was designed with an intelligent content builder. It gave her direct quotes, video, showed her all the areas where she could fill out information, and sign on the deal terms electronically if she was ready to make a decision. It also provided places for her boss to sign, so once she had completed her portion, she could send it to him to address and confirm.
In the new world of selling, agents need to approach buyers in a new way, if they want to break through. Instead of asking for valuable resources like their time or overloading them with information, share only the information they need to help make better decisions. Show them the way, be a guide — someone whom they can lean on and trust.