I am about as huge a fan as there can be of technological progress. I had to enlist my wife to help restrain me from buying a new iPad Air. As much as I love technology, when it comes to certain parts of sales…I think technology can get in the way of just. doing. the. job. LinkedIn, God bless it, can be a huge distraction from picking up the phone and calling someone. Don’t even get me started on Facebook, texting, etc. These can serve as a great way to get you sitting in your car for an extra 10 minutes between sales calls(or even worse…while ON a sales call), looking at your phone, pulling you away from your primary focus: Being PRESENT with more customers, selling more stuff, crushing your quota.
Technology can also have a tendency to convolute and/or overcomplicate the sales process. It can lead to more data entry…then the follow up navel gazing, sometimes over data that doesn’t really matter. Your mental capacities have a limit…and I would suggest you use as much of yours as you possibly can by sitting in front of a customer, not a screen.
Turns out it is the simple….not the technological or complex things that drive sales excellence.
Sales success in MOST industries can be achieved by 4 very basic actions:
1.) Procure something of value to show or talk about. (Think show and tell)
2.) With that compelling reason to visit people in hand….go visit A LOT of people.
3.) Now that you’re in the door (because of the item/idea you brought), conduct 2 conversations(in whichever order feels better): The first conversation is about the item/idea you brought and its possible impact on your customer. The second conversation is a personal one about the customer and their life. Build the relationship!!! I hope this refrain is becoming familiar to you now. I didn’t always believe in the personal time aspect of a sales call. I am a huge convert to this process…which sounds like a dynamite topic for a future post.
4.) Repeat this process with everyone at an interval that is acceptable to them and that justifies your time.
Seriously….that is IT.
Now, of course there are dozens of little tips and strategies to employ in and around these core activities. Every sales blog in the world likes to highlight the cleverest ways to do X, Y, or Z. There are certain ways to do “X” that are better than other ways to do “X!!!” This blog is devoted to all those little things you can do to exhibit high value as well, but these 4 basic actions are the foundation upon which every other thing you do will be built. After all, it doesn’t matter how great you get at writing follow up thank you notes if you only need to write 1 every 9 days.
When you internalize this 4 step process to the point it becomes as mundane as tying your shoes, you’ll be better prepared to add in all the little details and nuance that people typically think of as great “sales skills.”
With a purpose, show up in front of lots of people, cultivate your relationships, and repeat the process over time. You can’t lose.