Richardson, a leading sales training and performance improvement company, has released their Selling Challenges Study for 2016. The bad news is not much has changed since 2015. The good news is the top three challenges are interconnected.
What ties them together?
Digital over-communication. There’s simply too much of it, too often, in too many places. From the study:
“The top-three challenges in 2016 are interconnected and may be a direct cause-and-effect problem stemming from the universality of digital communications, resulting in shifts in buyer behavior. Sales and marketing professionals are having an increasingly difficult time getting buyers to respond to correspondence, promotions, and basic, lead-nurturing activities, particularly with the increasing number of communications that everyone is exposed to these days.”
This digital noise is having a negative effect on prospects, prompting a full-scale shutdown of inbound messaging. Instead, buyers are relying on trusted sources for information. Sales professionals have to keep pace by making every interaction count, by making every touchpoint valuable to the prospect.
This means turning what you thought about connection and persuasion on its head—and it starts with breaking assumed constraints about the tools you have.
Personalized Gifts Overcome the Biggest Sales Challenges
A hot prospect that exhibited all the buying signs in the book goes completely cold. You give him some time, then call, email, and call again. Perhaps his internal workload has grown, or he’s traveling. There are a ton of possibilities, but the result is the same: no response. Typically, this is the point of no return. The prospect drops off your to-do list, lives inactively and is eventually marked as lost.
But gifting your prospects—sending them a physical, useful gift—can re-engage them. In fact, response rates can increase by 10 times.
Gifting was a common sales tactic in previous generations, but has dropped off as a more progressive sales world demands faster processes for more leads. Because unlike an email, no one drops a package into the trash before they open it.
Gifts Start the Conversation
Instead of marking the prospect as “lost,” you check the prospect’s social accounts to find he has two dogs he does everything with. You decide to send a care kit of dog treats, a new ball, leash and a personalized note. You track the shipment and upon its delivery, make a perfectly timed follow-up call.
This time, he answers. He can’t believe how personal the gift is, and has already passed it around the office. Each time he goes to give his dogs a treat, throw the ball, or take them for a walk around the block, he’ll think of you.
According to Robert Cialdini, author of Influence, when you give a person something and later ask for something in return, you increase the odds by 10x that they’ll act and reciprocate. Psychologists refer to this impulse as the law of reciprocity. It’s the magic spell behind the power of gifting that helps you open doors, close deals and create brand advocates.
People don’t normally gush to their peers about a sales email they received. They do, however, spread the word when they receive an unexpected gift. Turning prospects into brand advocates can boost marketing effectiveness by 54%. This word of mouth branding kickstarts conversations that lead to the buy-in you need to close a deal.
Gifting Builds Trust
As the world becomes less institutionalized and more focused on individual empowerment, people’s natural inclination to trust brands erodes. It’s why 94% of them research your company before they buy. Which makes establishing a real connection that stems beyond a “Dear Jim,” email so important. And it’s why you’ve got to employ a strategy that gets you past the buyer-beware walls prospects barricade themselves in.
When you send a personalized gift, you break through the top challenges outlined in the Selling Challenges study. You ditch the one size fits all approach, add value and give something before asking for something. Instead of screaming at prospects over all of the digital noise, step around it and make connections in the physical world.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to overcome today’s top selling challenge and establish meaningful relationships in the process, head here.