After we spent much of the previous century selling to each other in the traditional manner, the internet came along and changed everything. In 2010, ecommerce was already well-established, and Amazon made $34.2 billion. Only ten years later, that number had risen to $386 billion. Sales is constantly changing and developing and that is why we need disruptive sales techniques.
In 2010, Amazon was the place to get books and CDs. In the 2020s, Amazon is the place to buy pretty much anything. Both partners and rivals of the ecommerce giant have had to adjust and adapt, as Amazon and other tech pioneers have facilitated a major shift in buyer psychology. Not just in retail, but in B2B sales as well.
The sales landscape will continue to shift, thanks to the fast-moving world of tech, and sales professionals have a choice. You can be left behind or you can disrupt and be the change. In the words of Steven Jeffes:
“Innovation is the unrelenting drive to break the status quo and develop anew where few have dared to go.”
What is disruptive selling?
Disruptive selling involves innovating and finding new, bold ways of making sales. These are often memorable sales techniques that help the salesperson stand out from the crowd in the mind of the client.
Disruptive sales techniques seek to challenge the wisdom of sales and create new methods for closing deals when the common tactics have become stale.
Often sales teams and marketing teams work together to develop a disruptive strategy that will get them noticed and create a buzz around their product. This strategy will involve starting from scratch and ignoring existing ideas about what makes a good campaign.
Why use disruptive sales techniques?
Disruptive selling grabs the attention of a customer who might have made their way through much of the buying journey without even conversing with a salesperson. In fact, research shows that some clients can reach between 70 and 90% of the way to a sale before they talk to a rep.
The problem with the traditional sales process is that customers do not need reps to tell them about the features of a product or service. They can find that out online. The internet is awash with reviews, instructional videos, advice, informational pages and opinions of almost everything.
Disruptive sales techniques engage the customer before they realise they have a problem. They do not have time to consider their issue, research around it and approach you or your competitors.
This is where you step in. You “shatter their status quo” according to Australian consultant Bruce Rasmussen, and walk them through the customer journey from there, without having to compete with other companies for attention. In this way, you become the one who picked the customer up and showed them the issue in the first place.
What are the leading disruptive sales techniques?
1. Introduce unconsidered needs
Many people are happy with the status quo in their working life. If everything seems fine, they don’t need to look for solutions. But often, they don’t realise what they really need to do to improve their organisation.
And if buyers do identify needs, they often struggle to identify the solutions that will serve them the best. The problem with having a wealth of information at their fingertips is that they can be swayed by unhelpful advice. In addition, if you approach buyers offering solutions for problems they have already identified, the chances are you will not be the only vendor to do so. There is nothing to differentiate you from your peers.
A disruptive approach involves thinking beyond generic customer research and discovery calls. You have to present potential clients with the problems that they have not yet identified and, most importantly, detail why your goods or services are the perfect solution. This is how you can speak to their unconsidered needs.
2. Create urgency
One issue with approaching leads out of the blue, and with problems they didn’t even realise existed, is that you blindside them. This can lead to indecision, which is a killer for deals. In fact, 58% of deals end up with no decision being made. This is why you need to create urgency to help push the prospect through the sales pipeline.
“It’s hard to get people to change or create new behaviours, so we need to create a sense of urgency,” says sales expert Andy Gole. “So, we need to create a sense of urgency, or tap into their sense of urgency, to do that.”
Tell the lead why they need to buy right now and why they need to buy from you rather than from any of your competitors. But also explain the negative effects of not purchasing. Put a time limit on your offer and do anything you can to fast track their trust in you and your product. Send them testimonials, offer them a money back guarantee or anything else that makes the offer seem less of a risk to them.
3. Do something different
Can you engage your customers in a new and exciting way? Most prospects will be ready for the traditional hard sell, but you need to be innovative and different. That is not to say that anything goes. Whatever way you engage potential customers, it needs to be relevant to the product or service you are offering.
For example, when Nissan bagan selling a new car model using Amazon, it delivered them in large versions of the well-known Amazon boxes, sending out the message that they were available through the online site and that they were changing the way the automobile industry works. They used a sales channel that millions of people use, but rarely before for anything like a new car.
4. Employ technology
If you can find a way to improve the customer journey using technology, this can give you an edge over the competition. It also creates a memorable experience for the client and that keeps you and your organisation in their minds.
With the growing availability of artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR), there are real opportunities to not only tell your leads about your product, but to let them see it in action, albeit virtually. US department store Kohl’s teamed up with Snapchat recently to create an AR tool that allowed customers to ‘try on’ clothes from the comfort of their own home. They could then order the items for delivery.
As well as retail, this could work for businesses in many different sectors, selling to both the consumers and B2B customers.
Disruptive Selling: The Book
For more information on disruptive sales techniques, Patrick Maes has written Disruptive Selling: A New Strategic Approach to Sales, Marketing and Customer Service. This comprehensive book features details about how companies can stand out in a competitive market, stay relevant and gain a competitive advantage.
The book uses real-world examples to illustrate how organisations can rework their sales strategies to offer clients something fresh and innovative.
Tips for successful disruptive selling
Here are some tips on how disruptive sales techniques can reinvigorate the way you engage with your leads.
|Sales techniques not cutting through||Move away from your traditional techniques. As an industry, sales can move towards tried and tested tactics, but these eventually get old and your clients eventually know what you will say. Think up innovative ways to approach and interact with clients and you will stand out from the crowd.|
|Sales team is stuck in a rut||It might be that your sales team is not exactly inspired by what it is selling. Yes, they can play up their enthusiasm, but some industries just don’t seem that exciting. However, you don’t need to think within your sector. Why not look to see how sales work in other, seemingly more exciting sectors and bring some of those tactics to your product?|
|Too much competition at the time of year||With seasonal industries, everyone seems to compete for the same sales at the same time. But it doesn’t need to be that way. Carve your own niche within the industry. Find a quiet time of the year and build up excitement and interest so that you own that niche.|
What is disruptive marketing?
Disruptive marketing is closely related to disruptive selling, involving changing the rules of traditional marketing.
Our online communities have changed the way we interact with brands and now 88% of consumers in the US and 90% of those in the UK say they value brands that are “setting new standards, are going beyond the expected and pushing the boundaries.”
An example is the Old Spice ‘Smell Like a Man, Man’ campaign, which usurped expectations to soap commercials for men, using surreal humour to portray its message.
How do you best reach a client?
Understanding the issues that a client has within their industry is key to reaching and engaging them. Being able to preempt their concerns and offer them a solution gains trust and creates a hunger for what you are selling.
Solution selling is a good way to reach out to a client. It gets to the core of their concerns and positions your company as the solution provider. In order to attract and keep their attention, thinking of innovative ways to pique their interest is also important.
Disruptive sales techniques prove advantageous for your sales professionals because they cut through the noise of a host of similar messages being pumped at your leads all day. You become that breath of fresh air that they needed and they are instantly more receptive to your offer because of it. It can also be fun for your sales and marketing teams to come up with new approaches and tactics, keeping them engaged in the process.
If you are looking for the definitive list of contacts for prospects at a range of organisations, then try the fullinfo platform for free today. You could soon be trying out your new disruptive selling tactics on that dream client.
References and Further Reading
- Seven Proactive Sales Techniques to Scale Your Sales Now
- How Do You Research Prospects Before a Call or Meeting?
- Master These Proven Sales Closing Techniques to Boost Your Results
- Solution Selling Vs Consultative Selling: What Is The Difference?
- How to Handle Warm Leads Vs Cold Leads as a B2B Sales Rep
- Disruptive sales (webinar)
- Disruptive marketing examples
- Business disruption examples