By: Thomas Young
“The problems we face today cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.” – Albert Einstein
How products and services are sold in the future will change. We cannot predict how it will manifest itself, but we do know change is coming — usually before we are prepared. However, there is a solution: planning in the present helps us to prepare for the future. Plan ahead for trends and be better prepared for the future. Following are a few selling trends that will play a major role in your sales success today and in the future.
Say Hello to the Real Boss: The Customer
Customers will drive business outcomes in the future even more than they do today. An incredible amount of buying options puts real power in the hands of the customer. If organizations cannot meet customer needs or add value, the customer can easily move on. The roles and responsibilities of sales people will expand and grow in importance, as they become the voice of the customer.
Sales techniques and marketing quick fixes are out. Soft sell, partnerships and relationship building with customers are the coming trends. The goal is to partner with the customer. Partnerships are built on trust, immediate problem-solving, frequent contact, honest communications, and a win-win relationship. Relationships of this nature meet needs and add value to the customer. No longer can customers be thought of as a tool for personal gain. Rather, the focus must be on the customers’ gain and making the customers’ needs the key issue.
It is the customer who pays your salary and determines your company’s future. The best way to meet customer needs is to ask the customer, “How can our company add value or better meet your needs?” Then do it better then your competitors.
Those Who Adapt and Change Will Lead the Pack
Sales people must change to improve. This is done through continuous learning and development. Those who do not change or adapt will struggle and stagnate as others pass them by. Self-development and personal evolution will be pronounced among the sales leaders. This will enable you to adapt to complexity and stay ahead of change by observing and predicting trends before they occur. Change is the only constant in business. Sales people who adapt properly to change will thrive. The best method for success during turbulent times is personal learning, growth and development.
Prepare for the Internet
The Internet will become the most powerful marketing tool in history. It could be the most powerful development since the assembly line, the automobile or the telephone. Electronic commerce and marketing over the Internet are still in their infancy. This is an excellent opportunity to expand your marketing reach. There will be tremendous growth as a generation that grew up with computers begins to enter the marketplace. Instant communications, speed, increased information and incredible accessibility make the Internet and email a must in today’s business environment. The future will be a time of immediate and personalized satisfaction. Customers want it now and technology will satisfy that gratification. Smart sales people know this and are high-tech savvy and on-board with new technologies.
Creativity Will be Rewarded
Creativity is the spark that will grow your sales. Sales people who are proactive innovators and create new value will thrive. Only 10% of sales people are true innovators who are proactive in their markets and action-oriented. We all have innate creative abilities. Tap that creativity and develop strategies that will result in business success and prosperity. These leaders will create change and force competitors to adapt or fall behind.
Prosperity Comes to Those Who Are Having Fun
Successful sales people realize that they are motivated because they enjoy what they are doing. These folks do not work just for the money, security or ego boost. They work because it is fun. This will become the culture of successful sales teams in the future. Find ways to make selling productive and fun.
Values and Ethics
Customers will increasingly demand trust, honesty and ethical responsibility from sales people. Those who do not comply will be hurt in the marketplace. Lying, unethical tactics and a lack of integrity will be observed by smart and intuitive customers. Customers will demand honesty and true benefit. Evaluate your principles, values and virtues.
- Increased cost of direct mail will result in more targeting.
- Telemarketing will increase.
- Price is more important and more closely tied to customers’ perceived value.
- Supply will continue to exceed demand and keep prices and inflation low.
- Global selling will continue to rise.
Sales professionals must learn from the past, live in the present and plan for the future. Applying intelligent focus in these areas can help you prepare for the future by living in the future today.
Tom Young, MBA is a sales trainer and marketing consultant in Colorado Springs helping companies increase revenues.