Right Before Our Eyes – How the Paradigm of Sales Is Changing in the Blink of an Eye
When I started selling print in the early 90’s, I did not have a cell phone. Or a computer. True story. It is hard to believe that in a couple quick decades, I went from 3x5 cards with my clients’ information on them and a map thumb tacked up in my cubicle to THIS. Smartphones, apps, social media. I used to make cold calls by canvassing buildings in downtown Chicago. And more than once, I walked out of one of those cold calls with an ACTUAL PRINT JOB.
I can’t even imagine something like that happening today. It’s all changed. And it’s time we accept it. Here’s what it means for salespeople.
- The new name of the game for you is engagement. Using any and all of the tools available to you. This could mean that you make a first contact via Twitter, or you get an introduction based on a mutual connection using LinkedIn, or that you regularly talk with a prospect via comments on Facebook. It doesn’t matter how you do it as long as you are doing it, and it serves the purpose of advancing the relationship.
- Having said that, it’s time for you to jump on the bandwagon, full bore. Join all the majors, if only professionally. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn at a very minimum. And if you’re hardcore, join Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and Google+ too!
What does it mean for managers and owners?
- Your metrics have to change. If you are assessing the performance of a salesperson solely on the number of calls they are making, you are not measuring the right things. There are offices today in which it is frowned upon for people to talk on the phone. We have to adapt to the current situation. And we know that folks are not picking up the phone if they don’t know who you are. (thanks a bunch, caller ID!)
- It’s time for a communications audit. Do you have any idea what your salespeople are saying and writing to prospects and customers? Is there any required participation in social media? Seasoned salespeople might chasten at the idea of having to review this, but I will tell you with absolute certainty that whenever I ask a client to provide me with voicemail and e-mail scripts, I always, 100 percent of the time, find room for improvement.
And here’s what it means for all of you. Comment on blogs. Write blogs. Participate in groups on LinkedIn. It’s worth it.
Times, they are a changin’. There is no denying it now. So instead of lamentation and nostalgia, let’s take control and go with the flow. I promise you it’s not as scary as you think. And if you need some help—you know the drill.
Blogger, author, consultant, coach and all around evangelist for the graphic arts industry, Kelly sold digital printing for 15 years so she understands the challenges, frustrations and pitfalls of building a successful sales practice. Her mission is to help printers of all sizes sell more stuff. Kelly's areas of focus include sales and marketing coaching, enabling clients to find engagement strategies that work for them and mentoring the next generation of sales superstars.
Kelly graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Political Science and, among other notable accomplishments, co-founded the Windy City Rollers, a professional women's roller derby league. She is also the mother of two sets of twins under the age of ten, so she fears nothing.