“No one wants to deal with a salesperson.”
“Cold calls are intrusive.”
“Buyers are 60+ % of the way through their buying process before they call a salesperson!”
All of these beliefs can be traced back to ONE sad singular belief:
Salespeople aren’t valuable anymore so there’s no point in being proactive.
Now look, I get it.
I understand how this belief has come about.
The state of sales management and sales process communication is at an all time low. The general sales populace is adopting ever weaker mindsets about the profession. It’s leading to ever weaker words and actions.
People are starting their sales pitches with phrases like, “I know you’re busy but…”
They are ending sales calls with phrases like, “I don’t want to take up any more of your time.”
Some salespeople are literally APOLOGIZING for doing their jobs. It’s sad. It’s pathetic.
There’s a reason this blog has this title.
So why is this happening?
As technology and social media begins to pervade the sales arena, the b2b sales industry is being washed down a slippery slope of value degradation by a torrent of “new ideas”, “new ways to go to market”, “social selling”, and other such things. The more technological the sales world becomes, the less and less we seem to rely on actual personal interactive skills.
We’re becoming lazier. Technology is actually causing people in some industries to make FEWER sales calls…not more.
If you want more evidence, look no further than this image you’ve no doubt seen posted all over LinkedIn.
ACTUAL selling skills are being derided as old and outdated. Sadly, every time this image rolls through my LinkedIn newsfeed it has a ton of ‘likes’…many of them from people that presumably sell for a living.
Salespeople are desperate for competitive advantages and they are reaching out in every direction to try to gain them. The trouble is that many are embracing false doctrines; they are embracing sales heresy.
Fundamental selling skills are now passe.
Before you say I’m being too old school, let me remind you that I’m a massive fan of tools and technology. I’m a huge fan of social media. I work at a company that is the best in the business at producing quality social media marketing content, and we use it extremely well. Tony Hawk doesn’t just ride a paper skateboard out of nowhere.
If your industry would benefit from any new tool (technological or otherwise) you’d be crazy not to explore it. The trouble is that while these new tools should be used as another tool in the tool chest…they’re now being used to REPLACE the tool chest.
If you call on people face to face for a living, you need to spend A LITTLE BIT of your time searching out new tools and the BULK of your time developing your sales skills.
You need to make a plan, take your future into your own hands, and become the primary reason you succeed.
Here are the three components you need to do it:
Act and speak in ways that are high value to the customer. Learn to exude credibility. Stop acting like you don’t belong in the customer’s building. No more apologies for existing.
Develop the product knowledge you need to be credible in front of your customers and prospects. Become a world class expert regarding the products you sell.
Deploy an activity model that allows you to get in front of the necessary amount of customers (read: more than anyone else) with the product knowledge and the selling skills described above.
This entire game is about execution. If you can execute those three components….you will neuter the competition and become seen as the only viable option available to the customer. Any additional tools you seek out need to support you in the efforts above. They CANNOT replace them.
Does your sales process (and the quality of its execution) make you invincible? Do you know how to build that kind of mindshare…repeatedly?
Sales skill development, effective communication of value, and…wait for it…making MORE sales calls than your competitors are the new killer strategies.
Happy empire building my friends.