One click…that’s all it takes. One click in the comfort of your home and you can buy a product that will be shipped the next day right to your door. It’s fast, inexpensive, and guaranteed. Amazon has taken the consumer buying process to a level of ease and convenience previously unimagined. And they don’t have to pay any salespeople!
How does technology help when the focus is a face-to-face, relationship-building process? Many companies have to sell their products or services because people don’t line up to buy them. More complex sales require an analysis of a problem and a written proposal before anyone buys.
Some old-timers will argue that relationship selling hasn’t changed that much. “You still have to be ‘belly to belly’ with your prospect and get them to listen to you and like you” they might protest. But if you haven’t kept pace with the tools that are available to make selling easier, faster and more professional, you’ll get left in the dust behind those who have embraced new technology.
The tools that salespeople have at their disposal now can make it easier for them to:
- Find, research and connect with prospects (LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, email, Skype, GoToMeeting)
- Direct them to their destinations (Google Maps, GPS)
- Track and report their activities (SalesForce.com, CRM, GPS)
- Analyze activities, predict success, and identify weak spots (SalesForce.com, Dynamics)
- Analyze the conversation to discern prospect’s needs, wants and competitive information (Smart pens, Livescribe, tablet recorders, speech-to-text software, speech analytic software)
- Quantify the prospect’s problems and the value of your solutions (on-line employee assessments, bar coding, video surveillance, tracking devices)
- Create professional presentations in words and pictures that would have cost a small fortune in the past (PowerPoint, Prezi, Google Images, Photoshop, Word)
- Deliver the product overnight (Purolator, FedEx)
- Schedule and initiate reminders for follow-up contacts (Outlook, SalesForce.com, Dynamics)
- Stay in touch through blogs, newsletters and personalized messages, (Blogger, WordPress, Constant Contact, LinkedIn, Twitter)
- Upsell using passive marketing (AWeber, Constant Contact)
- Meet customers regularly through video conferencing, regardless of distance (Zoom, Teams, Skype, GoToMeeting, WebEx)
- Train customers how to best use or troubleshoot the product through on-demand videos (Camtasia, YouTube)
- Provide 24/7 telephone and web chat customer service through outsourced call centres or call forwarding to your smart phone
It’s hard to imagine that when some of us started selling, none of these products/services existed! Although in-person selling skills – first impressions, building relationships, building personal trust – remain the same; the process of getting invited in and staying in touch have changed dramatically. If you haven’t expanded your technology skill set, it is time to start.
 Products or services listed are for example purposes only. This is not to be interpreted as an endorsement. Products change daily. Find the ones that work best for you.