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We’ve seen major shifts in buying behavior over the last few years, forcing sellers to up their game, and 2015 will be no different. As buyers gain access to more information and move at an accelerated pace, sellers are challenged with how to continue to add value and keep pace with their customers.

Here’s my take on four ways you can improve your sales productivity in 2015.

1. Start every sale… by not selling

Consumers today inherently “get” when they’re being sold to – and often, they’re reluctant to immediately enter the sales funnel on their first interaction with you. We’ve discussed how important it is to build trust and credibility in past posts, and it is the construction of that trusting foundation that will start you and your customer off on the right foot together. It’s important to demonstrate to your customer that you can add value to their buying decision by offering objective advice before jumping in and trying to sell your product. If you do it right, they might not even realize you’re in sales.

2. Build a personal brand

Building on that credibility factor, you can’t just hand out a business card that says, “I got this.” Nope. Rather, you need to have a substantiated online profile that provides concrete information about why you are truly a credible professional in your field. Most people are doing research about your company, your product, and even you online, so if you reach out to help someone the first thing they’ll likely do is look you up on LinkedIn. When that happens, you want to have details like forum contributions, valuable content you’ve shared, blogs you’ve authored, and participation on other social channels become immediately evident.

3. Think like your customer

At this year’s CEB Sales and Marketing Summit, I heard Rick De Lisi say something along the lines of “stop thinking about your customer, start thinking like your customer.” I couldn’t agree more with that advice. The selling process is really more about having a deeper understanding of who they are and what they’re trying to accomplish. Once you understand the backstory of why your customer is reaching out to you and begin to take cues from them, you’ll be able to engage in more relevant conversations. In the end, your customer will walk away feeling supported in their buying decision.

4. Show up like you know the place

You should never walk in the doors of a prospect’s office (or pick up the phone, or send an email) without having first researched what that company is all about. Your customers are super informed, so why aren’t you? Even if you’re on the go, you should be able to look up customer information in a flash. If your sales team doesn’t have tools that can help them do that, then they are behind the curve. Make that a priority in 2015.

The above tips aren’t rocket science, but then again, most yearly resolutions don’t reinvent the wheel. By laying a solid foundation of personal relationships, growing your credibility, understanding who your customers are and what they are looking for, your sales productivity will grow by leaps and bounds in 2015.

What are your sales tips for 2015?

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