Written by Sean McPheat |
17 October, 2011
32 years ago Brit band “Buggles” released their smash hit “Video Killed The Radio Star”, which paid homage to the way that technological advantages in television had crushed the success of the radio with its modern capabilities.
In today’s modern world, could we now be seeing the start of a new revolution? Has the internet and social media killed off the more traditional ways of selling? The outdated methods of cold calling, face-to-face networking and door to door sales are failing fast in the face in the ever-blossoming rise of the internet.
In order to understand how has this come about we need to look at the way selling has evolved over the last 30 years.
The Evolution of Selling
The way that we sell has gone through massive changes over the last few decades. Let me explain the evolution of the sales process to you:
Essentially we have moved from an era whereby sales professionals would just turn up and roll off their sales pitch to the buyer – which was nothing more than a one-way monologue in which the sales person would simply push their product or service on the client – to the realisation that in order to sell a product or service to a client, sales professionals need to pull out the problems the buyer is having during a two-way discussion and THEN show why their product or service would be a solution to these problems.
This process took an even greater leap forward with the invention of the internet, as buyers now had a world of information at their fingertips, meaning that they could “google” all about the product or service, the company and even the sales professionals themselves before they decided to enter into the sales process.
Today, the buyer is now even more informed and knowledgable about you, your company and your products and services than ever before, as they not only come prepared with vast amounts of information about the product or service, but they also engage in a dramatically high level of social media discussion – in which they can gain peer recommendations about who they should be buying from and potentially be discussing your company with past customers and even your main competitors.
The Modern Day Buyer
So the big question then: who is the modern day buyer and how do they now decide to make a purchase?
Today’s buyers are much more sales savvy than their predecessors – they conduct research online about your products and services, your company, your competitors and they can even find out information about you on a personal level as well.
They want more choice, they want more for less, they want to bash your prices down and play you off against your competitors until you are practically giving it away! Buyers today are much more ruthless than many sales professionals realise – and this is because they are far more prepared and well informed than ever, before you even get the chance to speak to them.
There are some big questions you should be asking yourself when it comes to engaging with the modern day buyer. What online tools are they using to find out about you, your company or your products and services? What discussions are they having with other potential customers, current customers or even your competitors about your products or services?
Your buyers are an upgraded version of those you have encountered before; they have changed the way that they buy…but have you changed the way that you sell?
Cold Calling R.I.P?
Cold calling as we know it is dying. Sales professionals hate making cold calls and people hate receiving them. Just look at these statistics and you will see why cold calling is fast becoming a dying art form:
People want to buy; they don’t want to be sold to – so going in for that hard sale just a few lines into a cold call that your buyer didn’t even want to receive is not likely to get the desired response.
What you should be doing is “smart calling” – you need to make a connection with your prospective client first, by starting a discussion on Facebook or LinkedIn, or tweeting them an interesting link on Twitter which might help them solve a problem they are having. Once you’ve built this initial relationship with your client in the online environment they are most comfortable in, then – and only then – do you make the call.
The Social Media Revolution
The Social Media Revolution is well and truly upon us and here are some interesting facts you that should know:
There has never been a more vital time to be out there on the internet, where you can be found, interacting with potential buyers and making a proactive effort to be involved with the discussion and sharing happening in the world of social media.
You need to contribute to groups, forums and discussions. You need to position yourself online as a trusted advisor and industry expert, who can be relied upon to give good, solid and honest advice to support your buyers with whatever queries they may have.
Everyone likes to feel like they are getting something for nothing, and if your prospective clients feel like you are giving them your time and expertise without immediately demanding something in return you will be amazed at how quickly you can become the go-to-guy when they buyer decides they’re finally ready to make a purchase.
Your buyers are now in control; they know what they want, they know when they want it and they do their research. They don’t want to be interrupted with your call and they want to buy from someone they feel like they can trust.
By using the right social media and internet-based resources, you can start to network online, build up a reputation as an industry expert, build up your personal brand and find the people who are already interested in your products and services. Once you have established this first point of contact with them you’ll find it so much easier to make that sales call.
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