Sales Tips: How Staying on Top of the News Can Help You Close Sales
By Drew Steigerwald, Co-Founder of 1440 daily news digest
Creative Commons photo: Source
“Hey, did you hear that Elon Musk built the world’s largest battery in under 100 days on a bet?”
No, it has nothing to do with what I’m selling you. But staying on top of the news not only keeps you informed of industry trends but makes you seem savvy and smart – a person you’d want to do business with.
The problem is that you – like me – probably feel deluged with constant news and information, and don’t have time to stay on top of what’s happening. That’s okay – there are solutions for that. But here’s why staying in the know across many topics, not just your own industry, can make you a better salesperson.
1. Keeping up with the news helps breaks the ice and humanizes you
Salespeople can get caught up in the repetitive nature of their role. Aggressive sales tactics that salespeople might use to reach their quotas can give the industry a bad reputation for caring more about the sale than the customer. Staying abreast of current events and using them as ice breakers can help you soften your sales technique.
Whether you make sales in person, over the phone or via email, start the conversation by talking about something interesting you heard in the news. By not going straight into your sales pitch, your potential customers will sense that you care more about building a relationship rather than talking money. You will also come off as interesting and cultured, which will reflect well on your company and product.
In general it is best to stay away from incendiary news topics like politics.
By chatting about current events before diving into your sales pitch, you will build a rapport with your customers, which will help you close the sale.
Rather than searching a dozen online publications to catch up on all of the day’s top stories, you can get an overview of all of the day’s need-to-know news with an email newsletter like 1440 or news aggregator like Google News.
2. Staying local helps you know when to change your approach
It is very easy to get caught in a bubble during the workweek. You are focused on your week’s goals and may not be paying attention to what’s going on outside of the office. However, keeping up with the news in your customer’s region is tied to reaching your sales goals.
If you are based in New York City but your accounts are in the Midwest or China, it is professionally more important for you to follow the news in Chicago or Shanghai than New York. Staying abreast of current events in your potential customer’s region will help you anticipate and further sales decisions.
If you live in New York but pay attention to Chicago news to know what’s going on with your Midwest customers, you will learn of events that don’t become national news but that will affect your sales. If you typically conduct sales in person but see that a snowstorm will affect the Midwest, you can accommodate your potential customers by suggesting a video conference instead of an in-person meeting to avoid the back-and-forth of rescheduling due to bad weather.
If you hear that China is facing an economic depression, you may anticipate your prospect’s troubles by offering a discount or relieving them of an onboarding fee to help you close the sale.
Keeping up with your customer region’s local news will impress prospects and help you close the sale.
You can stay up on local news from your customers’ regions by searching their local newspapers’ online editions, visiting Patch.com for hyperlocal reporting, or using the local edition of an industry-specific site like Curbed or Eater.
3. Industry trends help you improve your sales technique
Outside of keeping up with general news, keeping up with industry trends will help you close sales by inspiring you to always be innovating. Sales and marketing blogs like CustomerCentric Selling®'s will help keep your sales skills sharp so that you, the salesperson, can reach and surpass your sales goals.
By learning what filler words to avoid during your sales pitch or why you should plan your sales call, you will learn new skills, sharpen weaknesses and become a better salesperson.
4. Keeping up with the competition helps the product sell itself
On a more macro level, staying on top of industry news will help you keep an eye out on what your company’s competition is doing. Whether you are the Chief Sales Executive of your company or a Junior Sales Associate, you will make yourself a valuable employee by letting your employer know what competitors are doing and how your company can keep up.
By suggesting features that competitors are introducing, you will help keep your product the most innovative in the industry. When the competition isn’t competitive, the product will sell itself and you will close more sales.
To find the latest news in your industry, join your company’s industry association. To keep an eye out on the giants of your industry, follow these top business publications.
Author Bio: Drew Steigerwald is the Co-Founder of 1440, a daily email news digest that empowers professionals by curating, explaining and serving the day’s top news stories and more on a silver platter.
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