Friday, October 8, 2010

1990's Sales vs. 2010 Sales

Sales”……What a vast term. Everyone knows someone who is in or at least has tried a “sales” career. However, very few of us know those who have been successful in making a true lifelong career out of sales.

Has everyone read “Death of a Salesman”, a book written by Arthur Miller? The book is based on an aging salesman named Willy who was once successful but has seen his business drift away. Willy recollects the good times throughout the book, then phases back to reality and the fact that he’s lost his “personality” and wasn’t well liked any longer.

Why did Willy lose his personality? Because he never adapted to changing technologies and ever-changing methods of achieving “Power” status. “Power” is the technique of building your professional reputation as a person of knowledge, being perceived as an expert in your field. People always want to listen to experts, and people who make buying decisions are no different.

Back in the 80’s and 90’s, all the sales courses used to talk about terms like “close ratio” and “value of a sale”. The accepted process to achieving sales success was take your quota, whether it be monthly or annual, divide it by average value of sale, and that’s how many sales you needed to make to hit your number. Take your number of sales, divide it by your close ratio, and that’s how many proposals you had to make throughout the year. Figure your percentage of attaining appointments from prospecting, divide it in your number of appointments, and VOILA! That’s how many customers you needed to cold call…..sales is that simple, right? We all know the answer…..WRONG!

Using this formula today, the results are often impossible to achieve based on this 20+ year old premise. There are only so many hours in the day and quite frankly, cold calling doesn’t work these days. Why? Because today’s Executive are often promoted from the most successful producers within a particular company. That is often the salespeople and thus today’s “Buyers” were yesterday’s salespeople. They know the old techniques as well if not better than you do and won’t be talked into a purchase using them.

So how do we succeed in today’s markets? I say indulge yourself into the information and social media world, and build your reputation “Power”using all the tools available to you today.

1. Start a blog using your own domain. You can purchase one from Google or GoDaddy for as little as $10 per year. You can talk about anything you want on it, your products, your advice, a new sales tool, it’s up to you

2. Join Linkedin and build your profile. Linkedin is basically a Facebook for business professionals. The more connections you can make on Linkedin, the more “Power” your profile has.

3. READ…READ…and READ. Read all the sales e-letters and books you can find. Lots of people have great ideas and techniques (there are lots of “experts” like me out there) and you can pick up something new from everyone. One of the best courses I’ve taken over the years is “Cold Calling is a Waste of Time” by Frank Rumbauskas Jr. It’s about 120 pages + 2 audio CD’s. Lot’s of good stuff in this one. Here’s a link if you’re interested in it..  Trust me, this one is worth the small investment.

4. There are other techniques but I can’t give away all my secrets!......Sorry…

Try using these techniques to help build your professional “Power”. Start building your “Power” and you’ll find prospects will be calling you, not the other way around. Before long, you’ll have more leads than ever before, without using 20 year old techniques….Welcome to 2010!

Good luck and if anyone else has some sales courses they like, I’d love to hear about them…post them hear so we can all benefit! Thanks and Happy Selling

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