Someone in a group discussion recently commented that ” old school” style selling is dead and “old school” techniques like the telephone prospecting are also dead. I don’t understand how anyone can say that when every day, sales people are picking up their phones, putting a smile on their face, dialing a number and moving sales forward. Not bad for a dead technique.
In fact, when a good sales person successfully connects with a viable prospect on the phone, I’ll bet that the results are pretty close to where they might have been 10 years ago with regard to how successful they are in moving that sale forward. The challenge is of course the “successfully connects” and “viable prospect” parts of the equation.
With all the communications tools that our sitting at our finger tips, it has never been harder for a sales rep to make personal contact with a prospect (defined for the purpose of this post as “a person they want to talk to”). Indeed, as has been pointed out in countless articles on the net and on every discussion forum available, many of the tools – like social media, web search, PPC (….the list goes on) are best utilized as a way for the wary and increasingly illusive desirable prospect to avoid contact with the dreaded sales rep.
Without question, businesses need to broaden the range of tools they employ to create leads and opportunities for sales discussions and sales people should be in the forefront of employing them as well. And the phone is still one of the best ways to power up a connection between the buying company and the selling company. It’s just being used differently.
For example, sales people who would at one point never have “sacrificed the initiative” by leaving a voicemail are not only doing it as a matter of course, they are creating self administered campaigns to do it in quantity. Furthermore, are not in the least concerned that they have some obligation to wait for a call back before they try again.
Telephone is being combined both directly and directionally with other communications tools like email, purpose built landing pages, blog posts and other web pages and those old perennial favorites direct mail and trade events (both of which have also been repeatedly labelled as dead).
Technologies and services have freed sales reps from the time consuming tedium of dialing numbers themselves and personally verbalizing the same message 50+ times a day. Instead they can review their target companies, create intelligent, relevant messages for smaller groups and maintain a somewhat passive, but very respectful communications stream.
The telephone has evolved and it will continue to do so.