Trying to describe change in selling is like taking a picture of a waterfall. You’ve frozen a moment in time, but as soon as you release the shutter, it’s the past. You’ve caught only a fleeting image of one of the millions of unique streams.
As I reflected about the ways that selling has changed over the years, I found it difficult to confidently articulate what is “true” about selling today compared to the past. I came up with more questions than answers. And while I think I know some of the answers, it may be more instructive for you to answer these questions yourself:
- Do people still buy from salespeople based on trust?
- Does anyone buy anything without checking the Internet?
- What role does social media play in purchasing decisions?
- Is a face-to-face meeting necessary to make a sale? Does it depend on the size of the sale?
- How important are referrals, references and testimonials?
- Do young people buy differently than baby boomers?
- Can baby boomer salespeople sell effectively to young people and vice versa?
- How has technology changed the sales process?
- Do sophisticated and expensive CRM systems actually help to generate more sales per salesperson?
- Does blogging make selling easier?
- If you put the same effort into meeting people face-to-face as you spend blogging, would you make more sales?
- How do you mesh social media with more traditional ways of staying in touch?
- Have Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google, and the myriad of other digital sites made selling easier or more difficult? If you don’t use them, can you still sell?
- Can you still make appointments by telephone?
- Do cold calls, direct mail and newspaper ads still work?
- How much do you need to spend on a website to make it appear trustworthy and a positive experience for prospects and customers?
- What is the future of retail sales? Will stores be replaced by automated warehouses and a website?
- How can you best use video chat, webinars and Skype to expand your territory and deal with more customers without ever leaving your home?
- How important is it to make a good first impression, establish rapport, ask good questions, and make confident recommendations in helping customers to buy?
- How important are written communication skills in today’s selling arena?
- How much time is wasted on the internet versus productive sales activities?
- To use Don Tapscott’s term, many salespeople have been “disintermediated” – made irrelevant by technology. What industries still rely on professional salespeople?
More questions than answers. I suspect that anyone who tells you he/she has all the answers hasn’t asked enough questions.
What do you think? Please share your thoughts with our readers.