For those selling experts who grew up using traditional methods, the digital age may have knocked you flat on your back. While old sales techniques rely on nurturing personal relationships over time, technology in our age of mobile apps and social media depends on digital persistence and first impressions.
However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg – from holding meetings to researching prospects, almost everything in the sales cycle has seen an enormous transformation. But don’t let the changes scare you – modern technology offers powerful tools that can work with the methods you know.
Here is a stack up of modern technology for sales vs. old school techniques and how you can apply what’s in today to what you have been doing for years.
Back in the day, cold calling was the way to contact and research prospects. Now it’s possible to do detailed prospect research before ever picking up the phone (or writing an email). With social media, web data analytics, and other online tools, you can weed out the elusive promising prospects quicker and easier so you spend time on the leads that matter.
The good thing is, you can use this to your advantage to see who has been visiting your page or searching for products similar to what you offer to find more leads faster.Additionally, today you don’t need to wait until the office opens to start doing research – find out about moves within the company the moment they happen, watch your competition to get an extra edge, and check prospects’ LinkedIn profiles and annual reports to gather instant information.
Scheduling and holding meetings
While sales used to rely on in-person meetings that allowed you to utilize body language to emphasize your pitch and relay your message, today’s generation is short on time, and web conferencing frequently replaces live meetings. Online meetings are a great way to save time and money on travel and reach out to clients across the globe. Always strive to include video, because physical gestures and appearance matters, and be persistent in scheduling meetings with prospects. It’s still important to be prepared, present, and on time, whether you are meeting in person or online.
Forming personal relationships
Personal relationships are always important in sales. However, while the old school of sales concentrated on fostering current client relationships, now the focus is on finding new contacts who will rely on what you can offer over the competition rather than how well you know them personally. Yet you can still use your old methods in the age of social media – and you should.
Know how to best relate to your leads, so use the internet to gather personal information to better understand prospects’ specific needs so you can communicate your product in a way that fills them.When doing research, examine potential leads so when you reach out you can add a personal touch to stand out from generic emails.
Communicating with leads and clients
Today, instant communication makes staying in touch easy, but it also means people expect answers much sooner than they used to. Stay on top of your game with apps and online tools to help you track scheduled calls, responses, and meetings. Tools can also help you cut down on the time in between finding a lead and closing a deal, because you can send, receive, and sign important documents via email.
The moral of the story is that adapting to new methods takes trial and. Effective salespeople today must understand a wide spectrum of business techniques to know what works best for them, as well as for different prospects. Some of your clients may still want to meet in person or send documents via fax, so don’t expect everyone to be on the same level. Try something, note the results, revise it, and try again.
What About You?
How have you adapted your traditional sales techniques to the current age of technology for sales, and if so what apps and tools have helped you the most? We would love to hear your ideas and suggestions to try them out for ourselves.