Which business opportunities are often overlooked

Sales 4.0 - digital challenge and "analog" reality

Anyone who wants to take advantage of opportunities in sales has to leave the well-trodden paths

However, if you want to profit from the development in terms of sales, you have to be ready to initiate a change process. A process of change in one's own behavior. A behavior that we call Sales 4.0.

What is Sales 4.0?

Sales organizations need to provide answers more than ever. Answers to questions from employees and decision-makers in companies who believe they already know almost everything about products and markets. With their answers and their behavior, salespeople must also help to overcome existing fears of company employees and employees. Because many are insecure about Industry 4.0, do not know what absolute consistency and transparency entail in terms of their work environment.

Once again, it is of the utmost importance for salespeople to talk about what people get from their products instead of, as is still widespread, explaining their products.

Sales 4.0 shows sellers ways to leave the beaten path. Anyone who wants to take advantage of the opportunities has to develop from a “product clarifier” or “customer questioner” to an entrepreneurial salesperson. The salespeople who positively surprise their customers, for example by showing them new perspectives, aspects and, above all, new business opportunities, will in future be the winners in sales.

How exactly do you have to imagine this behavior?

  • No customer does something without a cause or reason. Salespeople must be able to communicate the opportunities and risks of developments in the market in such a way that the customer can empathize with them, that he can feel "where the smell is burning". Only those who link occasion and benefit emotionally and rationally will really be heard.
  • Salespeople need to be able to identify the essential cornerstones of a company culture. Developing ideas for new business opportunities as well as positively changing previous customer perspectives. Letting the customer come up with the solution by himself and then showing new ways that lead to the goal will become the key behavior for sales success.
  • Communication tailored to the respective contact person is another behavior that is greatly appreciated by customers. Understanding what is personally useful to the customer, what strengthens his role in the company, what helps the company and what makes an impact within his branch is of fundamental importance for a successful salesperson today.
  • Once the customer has internalized the value of a new approach or solution, the seller has the right to have a say in the leadership in the sales process. With a positive inner attitude, he has to drive complex decision-making processes of committees and hierarchies with empathic pressure.

How can sellers implement this realistically?

Of course, it is not enough just to know how to do it. Many sales training courses, sales strategies and methods stop exactly at this point. This is a problem that we know all too well from practice. That is why the Maxsult Sales 4.0 method developed by us stands for an overall package that sustainably responds to the changes in behavior of salespeople required by Industry 4.0.

This means that the seller himself has to be convinced of his approach and prepare accordingly. Our experience shows very nicely that he does this as a matter of course when he has the first rapid sales successes with this new behavior. But until then, he has to be ready to try new things and get involved.

An example: Sales 4.0 also means that the seller offers his customers real added value with his knowledge. And that doesn't mean product knowledge. But the knowledge that is necessary to meet the customer on an equal footing - as an entrepreneur, so to speak. Many salespeople find it extremely difficult to do this or still think that it is sufficient to take a look at the company's website shortly before an important customer appointment.

That won't be enough in the future. In order to acquire the necessary knowledge more quickly and to increase the chance for an effective appearance, Sales 4.0 is accompanied by research training. Those who can research more professionally save time in the end. Because he knows how and where to find good information quickly. Googling alone is no longer enough.

Sales 4.0 calls for a changed behavior on the part of the seller

Another important aspect of Sales 4.0 is the credibility of the seller. What use are the best information and strategies if the customer doesn't believe them? The personal appearance of the sales employee plays a decisive role here. At least 80 percent of a person's credibility results from their personality and thus has a decisive influence on the likelihood of a conclusion.

Is what the seller says understandable, does it appeal to the customer emotionally, can he empathize with it? And does what he says also agree with what his body “speaks”? This is why professional camera and communication training also play an important role in Sales 4.0.

Sales 4.0 is a change in behavior that takes place on many levels. Salespeople who concentrate on just one point, as has unfortunately almost always happened in the past, will not be able to play in the top sales league in the future. Salespeople have to find an answer to the changes brought about by Industry 4.0. Ignoring this would have dire consequences for them. They have to adjust to the changed behavior of their customers, as they often do not yet fully understand the opportunities of digitization for themselves or still have too much respect for the associated cultural change.

The salespeople, who are able to make their customers understand better and more comprehensively, what they can achieve with this change and the positive opportunities that result from it, these salespeople will have it much easier now and in the future to sell their products and solutions.

To person

For over 10 years Dirk Spöhrer Managing Director of the sales consultancy Maxsult GmbH in Wiesbaden, which he also founded himself. The graduate mechanical engineer focuses his sales consulting on the mechanical engineering, IT hardware and software and IT services sectors. Before founding Maxsult GmbH, Spöhrer was in sales at Hewlett Packard, Maxtor, and EMC² for 20 years.

Maxsult GmbH focuses on the areas of change management in sales, optimization of communication processes, sales process control and management consulting. In addition, Spöhrer works as a coach and trainer for Challenger Sales Training, Insight Selling and Sales. www.maxsult.de