For the past 40 years or more, there has been a focus in sports and entertainment on build it, package it, and they will come. It’s worked, more or less, fairly well. We know what we want to sell, we sell it to our prospect, and there, we did our job. We got what we wanted and tell ourselves the prospect got what they wanted. But in reality in most instances, we didn’t even know for sure what they wanted.
How many times have we sold to a company and quickly asked about a few of their needs, chose the right words from our vocabulary, and bucketed their needs into either entertainment, appreciation, or clients? Have we gone back in three months to see if their needs have changed, or have we continued the same journey, month after month? We renew, never asking what has changed and how we can better help them.
If nothing else, the past three months have slowed us down. They have made us reassess what we do and why. They have truly made us connect with our clients in more personal ways. Now it’s time to leave the cocoon and start our journey into selling in a different time and in a different way.
As teams who are reopening are slowly realizing, although our fans have said they couldn’t wait to come back, and they would be there, they are now asking for a few more months, or to wait until next year. Some fans are fine coming back, and some aren’t. So if our original buyers aren’t rushing to come in, what makes us think using our old phrases and buzzwords is going to excite anyone to buy?
The days of selling to are not going to impress anyone anymore. The key now is to collaborate and partner with. It’s not about our buzzwords or fitting clients into our buckets. It’s about listening and creating value that is needed with the time. It’s about journeying with our buyers.
Here are three ways to start the journey into selling with businesses and organizations for the 2020’s:
Step One: Reach Out
It’s fine if you have no answer right now and nothing to sell. It’s even better. Hopefully we’ve been prospecting during this time. As our communities open up more and more, and companies are opened for a couple of weeks, it’s the perfect time to call. There is no pressure to buy something. For the first time, we are truly calling to find needs. We have nothing else to discuss.
This time is forcing us out of our scripted comfort zone and encouraging us to listen. And listening is something that will build a relationship faster than anything else we can do. Quality will be the priority now instead of quantity of calls. Talk time will be essential. We have been isolated for a long time. People appreciate communication now more than ever and find it valuable. People want to talk… and be heard. We need to be there to listen and ask the right questions.
Step Two: Listen
Challenges and changes are key words right now instead of entertainment, appreciation, and clients. Sincerely want to know how businesses, organizations, and people in your area are doing. On this phase of the journey, our conversation is truly about them.
We say they should be doing 80% of the talking, and now they can because we are opening the door and inviting them into our sales journey. What are the challenges they are facing now? How are they changing in the immediate future? Listen. Take notes. Understand what they need, so we know what we are offering. Align with their thoughts. Don’t make them align with ours.
Step Three: Create
Collaborate with the business and your team, and create a strategy. Everyone will hear many different stories of challenges and change, yet there will be common threads throughout. Start bucketing those common threads. Create benefits/values that speak to those threads. This approach is how we will be creating packages into the future, where benefits are not ones we want to give out, but rather benefits people/companies/organizations want to receive.
Go back to everyone you speak with and let them know you listened. Show them all the options they can choose from for their benefits. Now they are in control of their buying dollar, collaborating with us instead of being sold to. And by the way, they will receive varying numbers of games or tickets depending on how many benefits they pick.
You can customize anything. You might even give them a dollar figure and tell them for that amount they not only get the benefits we have listed which start immediately, but also a bank in which they can redeem the money for whatever they need when we play. Remember what we said? Needs keep changing. Let them control how they want to spend it and when.
It all sounds simple. Yet breaking our typical sales mold will be challenging. Not rushing to provide our solution after the first few sentences will be a challenge. True listening will need to be practiced. And offering solutions based on this new listening and collaboration with both businesses and our teammates will force us to slow down and individualize our sales.
If nothing else, the days of isolation and shelter-in-place have taught us the value of the human connection. From that human connection, we have found a more collaborative way to sell.
How have your sales methodologies changed in 2020?
Write to Kathy at firstname.lastname@example.org.