As a baby boomer and a 20 year plus veteran of the sales game in corporate America I have seen a lot of changes. From the early years when a sales person retrieved messages from a receptionist on little yellow pads, to the pager, the “Brick” phone and finally a Personal Computer. Communicating with clients and prospects was never as “instantaneous” as it today.
The sales process was simpler. The old formula of C+D=S (Call + Demo= Sale) worked and worked very well. Cold calling was the norm. Sales Reps could just recite the features and benefits of their products and close for the business. The old “Show up and Throw up” was tried and true. Some of the more sophisticated and enlightened sales pros would even incorporate some of the sales techniques that they learned from their company’s latest sales training classes. PSS and SPIN were the most notable at the time. Before the internet, clients depended on the sale person to be the information source. Just know more about your product than your competitor and the business was yours for the taking. Find the pain, offer the solution and close, close, close!
What worked in the past in no longer relevant in today’s sales game. With the advances in technology prospects are better informed. It takes seconds for a prospect to find all the relevant information that a sales person used to provide. Most, if not all, companies have elaborate web sites that include their product offerings with detailed specifications and numerous case studies.
Are tenured sales professionals a thing of the past? Are we becoming the Willie Loman’s of the famed “Death of a Salesman”? For many unfortunately the answer is yes. For others, those looking to not only survive but thrive, it will require a reincarnation of sorts. In today’s environment, the new breed of sales professional has to leverage the different technologies available. Your prospects are using the internet to gather information on not only your product but you as well.
Social media is the new cold call! If as a sales professional you aren’t using the social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and the like, you are destined to a certain fate, just like Willie. With the New Year here, now is the time to reinvent yourself. Don’t let the lack of knowledge cause your death as a salesman. Leverage these tools and be reborn!