Wow. Bold statement Robyn! Don’t you work in sales?
Yes. The word “sales” is in my job title. But before all my colleagues come unglued, let me explain my theory here.
I guess I must back up first and fully share some combos that in my mind, are synonymous with “sales”.
- Gentleman at a mall kiosk constantly trying to give me a lotion/hair sample
- Used car guy who acts like I’ve never looked at this car on the internet before stepping foot on this lot
- A cold, random email from someone I’ve never met at a company in Canada
- My entire childhood trying to “sell” my dad on you name it. (Why I needed a car, why we needed faster internet, why I should be allowed to go to Kings Island after prom etc. etc. etc.)
Anyone else currently cringing? Like seriously, if this isn’t your face EVERY TIME you walk by that mall kiosk guy you are lying to yourself.
I’m only slightly joking on this because my point is hidden somewhere in the midst of the sarcasm and hilarious .gifs. In case you missed it, somewhere around 2006 in the prime of AOL AIM, the internet and technology in general changed the game on how we communicate with people. Fast forward to 2018 when people are being marketed to by artificial intelligence and yes, Siri is in fact listening to everything you say.
Some people get alarmed or uncomfortable at the idea of voice intelligence and are probably exiting out of this blog post as we speak. I don’t point this out to go down a rabbit hole of conspiracy theories but to paint the picture of “what is”. You can’t ignore it and you can’t pass it by. Technology is advancing every single day and we are in a “shit or get off the pot” kind of atmosphere.
To further paint the picture of “what is” (regardless of how you feel on it), I’m not picking up my phone and neither are the majority of major executives all across the globe. Texting, emailing and LinkedIn messages are becoming a common practice within the sales cycle. If (and that’s a big IF) I get a face to face meeting, the person across the table wants to know who our mutual friends or connections are and expects that I don’t ask questions I could have found the answer to doing pre-meeting research. 73% of executives prefer to work with sales professionals referred to them by someone they know. There truly is no such thing as a “cold call” or “cold email” anymore because technology has shifted the landscape and demands the expectation of WARM interactions.
Not that kind of warm!! (Although with all this SNOW in Indiana I’m sure everyone is desperately ready for their spring break get-a-ways.)
Before I lose you completely to sunshine and warm thoughts I’ll make my point. The world doesn’t need sales people, it needs technology experts.
That’s the “shit or get off the pot” mentality. We have to learn the technology or stop calling ourselves marketers. The sales person needs to understand the in-depth and customized CRM systems our clients now possess. We need to explore the rich data our clients have access to and utilize it to build marketing solutions that work and provide ROI.
You can’t “sell” a client a solution just like a kiosk man can’t hand me a sample. Your client will avoid you (and your phone calls, emails and texts) faster than you can mall walk past the kiosk.
You can however position yourself as a technology expert and bring valuable information and content to your clients. This will allow you to partner with them in ways that are meaningful and create long standing relationships and gain even more referrals. Have the answers to their questions. It matters… and that’s what our clients want from a “sales” person.