Over the past several years we have been hearing how our industry continues to become more and more commoditized. There are a number of reasons for this including low barriers to entry, the proliferation of the job boards and VMS systems and the rise of the CPO. But another reason why the industry has become commoditized-one that is hardly ever mentioned-is how sales professionals in the IT staffing industry sell. Part of the reason why the industry has become so commoditized is in large part can be attributed to the way in which sales professionals sell IT staffing services. Below are 5 classic signs of the transactional sales professional.
This classic transactional sales tactic is by far the most common and most deadly. “Hi Mr. customer, it’s Dan Fisher from ABC Company, I was calling to check in. Do you have any needs?”
This transactional statement (and close ended question) kills a conversation in seconds. I could go on and on about all of the reasons why you need to avoid this. If this is part of your MO, do everything in your power to stop it ASAP.
Sales Reps who push for face to face meetings on cold calls (and/or before they have earned the right for a meeting) is another classic example of transactional selling. I get it; we all want and need face to face meetings in order to build relationships. But you can’t ask for a face to face meeting before you have earned the right to that meeting.. When sales reps push and push for that meeting they inadvertently make the prospect uncomfortable. And that makes selling to that prospect even more challenging because you set the expectation that you’re a transactional sales rep. Sales is about establishing credibility and building trust.
“Mr. Customer, I saw on Indeed/Monster/Dice that you’re currently looking to hire a….” This approach (along with all of the others) tells the customer you know nothing about their business and that you have no interest in learning about their business. It also demonstrates that you’re lazy and invested zero time into the sales call. Worse of all, you sound like all of your competitors. What this approach does tell your prospect however is that you are interested in only one thing, making the transaction. Ask yourself, are you out to make the “one-time transaction,” or are you out to build a long term relationship? I suspect you want long term relationships. Assuming so, make sure your sales behavior reflects that.
Accepting a job description via email (or without actually talking with the client about the requirements) as a QUALIFIED job requirement. A job description is simply the launching point for having a conversation with your customer about their project goals, objectives and challenges they face. If you’re relying on matching buzzwords with a job description and buzzwords on a resume, you’re a transactional sales professional. Taking a client requirement is actually one of only a few opportunities to differentiate yourself from your competition, take advantage of it
Leading with and/or talking about a “broadcast message” is another classic example of transactional selling. A “broadcast message” is when the sales professional goes on and on about their products and services, or their “unique value proposition” and their explanation of why they think they are so different from their competitors. Let’s get one thing straight, (sorry if this sounds harsh) but all IT staffing firms offer the same services. And remember, all the information contained in a broadcast message can be found on your web site. If your customer has questions they will go to your web site or they will ask you. You don’t need to tell this information until they ask.
The worse thing of all about transactional selling is the message it sends to your prospects. Customers need to hear and feel that you actually care about them and their business. You can’t do that when you sell transactionally.