Farquharson/Tedesco on Business Development: Sales: Harder Now or Before?
Sales Challenge #5: Building a Book of Business From Scratch
THEN—Starting out in sales way back when (as both of your humble authors did) required diligence, chutzpah, a pretty face and a nice wardrobe (as both of your humble authors have), and a valuable message.
NOW—Starting out in sales now requires a similar checklist, but because the doors are locked and the receptionists are long gone, personal hygiene and a keen eye for fashion are not as important.
For many of the same reasons listed above, starting from scratch and building a book of business is more difficult now than it was way back when. The economy isn't helping much either as companies no longer build large inventories for fear of tying up capital and losing flexibility to respond to market turns. In either case, it's best if you don't know just how hard it really is or you might not even undertake the task. Technology offers efficiencies, but at the cost of face-to-face salesmanship, resulting in...Answer: Harder now.
Sales Challenge #6: Ending the Day/Life's Balance
THEN—The day ended
NOW—The day never ends
The pre-Internet era also meant no cell phones. There was no e-mail. Business was done during normal business hours. People went home and mowed their lawns during the daylight. It was generally understood that calling someone after 5 o'clock would result in leaving a message. Today, the day never ends and work follows us home. Lawnmowers have headlights. Customers expect after-hours calls to be answered. Answer: Harder now.
The Final Score:
Other than the challenge of finding quality prospects, today's sales rep faces more and greater sales challenges. Technology both helps (Internet, Websites, Google searches) and hurts (voice-mail, caller ID). Doors are locked, buyers are less defined, and everyone is busier than ever before. So, to those who claim that it's harder than ever to sell print, we reluctantly agree with you.
Bill Farquharson is a sales trainer for the graphic arts. Email him at Bill@AspireFor.com or call (781) 934-7036. Bill’s two books, The 25 Best Print Sales Tips Ever and Who’s Making Money at Digital/Inkjet Printing…and How? as well as information on his new subscription-based website, The Sales Vault are available at BillFarquharson.com.