By Sharon A.M. MacLean
We’ve heard this warning from every corner of the social selling world: drop the ABC or Always be Closing style of sales; it’s over. Instead, develop this new method of ABC: Always be Connecting, as coined by Jill Rowley. https://www.linkedin.com/in/jillrowley
The old mantra was based on a satirical speech delivered by Alec Baldwin in the movie, Glengarry Glen Ross, pictured above. It contributed to the reason we have such a jaundiced view of selling said Inc.com contributing editor Jeoffrey James. http://www.inc.com/author/geoffrey-james He and sales trainer Todd Duncan were interviewed last month by Darren Hardy, that wildly successful publisher of Success magazine.
I’ve followed Hardy since 2010 when he appeared with Brendon Burchard in San Francisco. He inspired me with The Compound Effect, a book describing the principle of reaping huge rewards from a series of small, smart choices; a copy remains in clear view on my desk. I also identified with him because of the shared experience in magazine publishing. http://darrenhardy.success.com
His empire now includes a magazine that reaches 2 million readers, a social media following with 216K followers on Twitter, 289K on Facebook, and over 17K on LinkedIn. Plus he’s extracted the best strategies around for creating new media that include blogs, email marketing, CDs and DVDs, digital downloads, and ebooks.
Yes, I’m a fan. So many traditional print publishers have not transitioned so fast—or so well –when it comes to modern marketing.
Sales and The Internet of Things
Hardy’s interview with Duncan and James dealt with how the “Internet of Things” affected sales over recent years. There was no surprise when Duncan said these fundamentals had not altered:
- acquire new customers;
- optimize the experience;
- retain and cultivate existing clients;
- increase the value of each customer.
What sales people need to change, says Duncan:
- see customers as real people;
- strive to find a noble purpose as it relates to your product or service;
- accept how social media gives your customers a megaphone when it comes to relaying good or bad experiences;
- avoid non-performing activities. Take advantage of automation tools for email marketing and social media;
- focus on taking care of those clients who love you the most;
- follow up.
The new sales model
What will sales look like in five years? Here’s Darren Hardy’s take and, I believe, we’ve already started to see the shift.
- There will be fewer traditional sales people for these three reasons:
- outdated prospecting methods will have lower yields—since direct sales will become cost prohibitive;
- fewer client meetings take place because clients have less time for face-to-face relationships;
- a preference to eliminate the middle person. Buyers will look for ways to go direct to manufacturers leading to fewer sales people on the road.
2. More ways to connect means the days of the big whale sales hunter are over. The sales farmer gains momentum with in-house support from account managers or client relations people. Teams edge out the lone game hunter.
3. Compensation models change. Given the collaborative way of sales management, commissions will be shared among all team members.
Things that won’t change.
1. Urgency trumps process: Customers want to solve their problems now, so companies positioned for rapid response will be able to capitalize on opportunities while others get left behind. Think about fast-tracking signatures using automated sales proposals and e-signatures which the Aberdeen Group advocates.
2. Qualification of high-value prospects drives faster growth. Effective target filters will be required to sort through a dearth of leads. This means targeting prospects using tools such as Socedo http://www.socedo.com to scan for leads that fill the pipeline.
3. Communications skills increase in importance. The need to improve writing, speaking, and publishing skills increases in importance at all levels. Companies, please take note: If your sales people don’t have strong writing skills, it’s your job to provide editing assistance or to supply content for distribution by your teams.
4. Trust trumps facts. Much of the need for speed-to-results will be based on good listening skills and trust over the delivery of factual information. Read soft skills: social graces, interpersonal relationships, attitudes that make someone a good employee to work with, managing people, and leadership.
5. Proven speed-to-results will earn higher prices than those that take longer periods of time. This requires focus, skills with automation tools, and flat-line management.
Glengarry Glenn Ross is long gone.
Need help with modern marketing? Contact me through LinkedIn or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Life-long communications strategist Sharon MacLean owned and published a traditional print magazine over 21 years for business people. She now applies her enhanced knowledge in digital marketing to the needs of her clients and believes in the value of combining the best of both worlds.