Turn Consumer Trends Into Sales Tips
Unless you are in the automotive industry, you might be thinking to yourself that Ford Motor Co. has absolutely nothing to do with sales tips or your business. You would be wrong. Here’s why.
Sheryl Connelly, Global Consumer Trends and Futurist at Ford Motor Company, is a rock star when it comes to understanding where consumers’ heads are at. And if you do not know why this matters to you in the sales process, you should get yourself into another profession.
Understanding current consumer trends in your demographic is paramount to understanding how to sell to your prospects. So the report recently released by Ford is a valuable resource in helping all of us understand current trends and the impact they have on how consumers—your prospects—see the world. The report even breaks down the information by age group and geographic location.
I’d suggest every sales person and marketer download it and keep it handy. But I’ll touch the key trends here, and offer a possible sales tip based on each.
Trend: People Value Time Differently
Consumers today see things like sleeping, surfing the Internet, reading fiction and using social media as productive ways to use time—not waste it. Further, 98% of those who had taken a “gap year” between high school and college said it helped them develop as a person, far from being the “lost” year as parents in the past might have viewed it. Yet a majority of adults under 44 see themselves as becoming more impatient than before.
Sales Tip: Consumers want to use their time productively—however they define that. Offer a solution that frees up time for them to spend as they see fit, and your sales effort is much more likely to succeed.
Trend: Today’s Consumers Are “Trying”
Consumers’ options for purchasing goods and services have exploded. A multitude of Internet vendors now compete for sales. New service concepts like Uber and Airbnb are roiling the transportation and vacation industries. Web-based home delivery services are springing up for everything from dinner and dress clothes to shaving supplies. The added options make consumers less satisfied, not more. As a result, they “sample” endlessly, refusing to commit to long-term purchase relationships and showing little loyalty.
Sales Tip: Make sure the value you offer is obvious, that your customer service is impeccable and help them feel their decision has been the right one. You have to (re)earn their business every time.
Trend: Realizing Tech’s Downside
People have begun to recognize the negative implications of the flood of technological advancements engulfing us. Many are weary of the endless drive for “something better.” In fact, nearly half believe technology is making us “dumber.” More than half blame technology for an increase in obesity and sleep deprivation, and for a decrease in everyday politeness.
Sales Tip: Don’t expect your sales prospects to swoon over technology for its own sake. Make sure they understand how it will truly improve their business and/or personal lives.
Trend: Champions of Change
Consumers today are moving toward accountability on many of the issues that have been talked about for years. The environment … social issues … health and wellness; while many people agree on their importance, relatively few, to date, have done something about it. That’s changing. Today’s consumers are holding themselves, and the brands they choose, to a higher standard, and making choices based on those issues. Companies are responding.
Sales Tip: Realize that the issues matter. Highlight how your company is acting responsibly, and how your solution will help your prospects do the same.
Trend: Parenting Isn’t “One Size Fits All”
Parenting styles have always a prime topic for discussion and judgment, and several lines of thinking have dominated over the years. But as the world has grown increasingly complex, today’s parents are realizing that there is no one right way to raise kids. Dealing with children on matters of finance, technology and how best to “nurture” them is a constant challenge. As a result, parents are becoming more open about admitting difficulties connected with parenting, and soliciting advice on how to solve them.
Sales Tip: Your prospects are people, beyond their job titles. At best, you may share some common experiences based on children. But at very least, understand that what is going on in their children’s lives at the time may impact their receptivity to your sales efforts.
Trend: Appreciating the Value of Community
This country celebrates rugged individualism, but it thrives on the strength of its communities. People are reconnecting with their local communities. At the same time, the impact of online communities — built around shared backgrounds, interests, concerns and goals—is undeniable. A vast majority of companies use online communities to gather ideas and feedback on the product and service offerings, and to help strengthen relationships with their best customers.
Sales Tip: Tap the resources of the communities that form around your product, company and industry. Make sure you or a savvy employee reads and interacts with customers who comment on social media, and responds with the voice you’d like your company to display. At very least, use the insights gained to learn what you’re doing right—and what things you might need to address to enhance the effectiveness of your sales force.
Sales Tips You Can Use Today
It’s critical to stay attuned to what consumers are thinking, and the Ford Consumer Trends report is a big help in doing just that.
At Superior Business Solutions, we’ve learned quite a bit about how to increase sales success, as well.
For sales tips that will help your sales team succeed, contact us today and ask for a free sales enablement review. And be sure to check out my six-part series below: