Sales professionals are not known for being creative, and the profession is linked with monotonous routine activities like cold calling and chasing the ever increasingly challenging quarterly targets.
The most effective sales professionals refrain from routinizing their sales related activities. They augment their creativity to gain a cutting edge over the competition. The resultant payoffs can be tremendous. Researchers at the Aston Business School, among Europe’s largest business schools, have concluded that creative sales professionals generate higher sales in comparison to their counterparts who lack the creativity quotient.
Injecting creativity into the sales pitch
Most of the sales personnel depend on product demos and boilerplate sales pitches. There is a dearth of personalization while conversing with prospective customers. They keep highlighting the same features and the associated value propositions. Resultantly 82% of sales professionals are not in sync with the buyers’ needs, which is a major cause of concern.
Creative salespeople do not succumb to the temptation of adopting the one-size-fits-all selling strategy. Instead, they properly handle the challenges associated with selling via a consultative lens. They take the effort to listen to and understand customer specific needs. Utilizing this data they formulate scripts that are customized for every single buyer.
This personalized approach gives the desired results. As per Infosys, 86% of consumers state that personalization plays a major role in their buying decision. Sales personnel who are creative problem solvers are well appreciated by customers, even as they devote time to explain how their service or product is uniquely positioned in the interest of each individual customer.
Augmenting creativity for customization of offerings and objection handling
Over the years it has been seen that sales offerings are oft set in stone and lack the much-needed creativity. However, creative sales personnel are of a different breed altogether. They never conceptualize the sales activity as a mere transaction, but deal with it as a problem-solving opportunity.
Creative professionals are very flexible. If an existing customer or a prospective one raises an objection, they’ll creatively think as to how the matter can be settled. To cite an example, if pricing is the issue, they’ll offer discounts if retaining the customer is mandatory in terms of a strategic partnership, or for added brand awareness, or a chance to penetrate a new sector of the market or just an opportunity for a good referral or introduction.
Whereas, if a customer highlights a product limitation, creative sales personnel get to the root of the problem for damage control. Is it prudent and feasible to add the feature that is lacking? Are there any methods for imitation by leveraging an API or building Zapier integration? – is what they are constantly thinking. In this process, they actively involve internal engineering and product managers so as to gauge the feasibility in terms of retaining a customer.
This does not mean that creative sales professionals are more persistent than their counterparts who lack this virtue. It’s just that they are diligent problem-solvers and tend to customize their offerings rather than just dismissing objections as lost causes. Consequently, they are viewed as valued collaborators by satisfied customers.
Giving out “wow” moments to purchasers
Creative sales professionals constantly find ways to delight and surprise their customers and prospects by creating some “wow” moments. Unfortunately, these “wow” moments are rare in today’s sales world. As per TeleTech, 67% of customers are reported to have rarely come across wow-worthy experiences.
Once a sale transaction is closed, creative sellers tend to constantly brainstorm for creating some “wow” moments for customers. It is not such a big deal after all, but it does require a lot of creative thinking. It all boils down to making each customer feel special.
Creative sellers will keep track of current affairs and will monitor developments or events that may impact their customers. To cite an example, if a valued customer bags an award or wins a new marquee customer, a note of acknowledgment can be sent right away by a creative sales rep. Social listening will be leveraged by creative sellers so as to monitor customers’ feedback, comments, and testimonials. If an issue is raised, salespeople will proactively approach the concerned parties and come up with ideas to solve the matter.
If a valued customer achieves a product milestone, a handwritten note of congratulations will be a welcome gesture. Creative salespeople may even connect two or more customers through a warm round of introduction if they sniff an opportunity of mutual benefit. Creating “wow” moments requires some outside-of-the-box thinking.
The surprise element linked with “wow” moments is a very effective sales tactic. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and Emory University have concluded that the pleasure centers of the human brain are more active when one experiences surprising positive moments, in comparison with positive moments that are preconceived. This increases the possibility of remembering an unexpected event due to heightened activity of the brain. While trying to beat the competition, this phenomenon holds tremendous value.
After purchasing a product, we usually don’t expect to be contacted by the salespeople. However, customers are taken aback when salespeople make them feel special and valued. Customers become emotionally engaged, and as per research by McKinsey emotionally engaged customers are three times more likely to renew their purchase and also recommend your product.
Creativity is the most undervalued sales tactic: enterprises that promote creativity are 3.5 times more likely to outperform the competition in terms of growth of revenue. People wrongly believe that creativity is an innate virtue, however, it is a skill that can be learned and honed.
Sales teams keen on igniting creativity, and ultimately boosting sales, resort to role-playing and improvisational activities to upgrade their creative quotient. Mindfulness and meditation activities can also be inculcated into the sales training programme, as research indicates that these activities enhance creative thinking. Since creativity is a skill of such great value, investment towards that end fetches good returns in the form of sales excellence.