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If you want sales, ditch your obsolete strategies

We are in the year 2011 and it’s amazing to me that people are still cold-calling, leaving voicemails, asking for appointments and, in general, trying to pull out their Felix the Cat tricks that were dead and gone the moment the Internet reached awareness. (No offense, Felix.)

Why on earth would someone let you in to see a decision-maker on a cold call?

Why on earth would someone return your cold call voicemail?

Why on earth would someone grant you an appointment to make a sales pitch from a cold call?

Why on earth would someone listen to your timeworn sales pitch/tricks without a hint of value coming from you?

Why on earth would you look for your prospect’s pain instead of pleasure?

Why on earth would you try to sell your prospect when all they want to do is buy?

Every day I receive sales questions, and all of them focus on how to do something new with a strategy that is 100 years old.

  • How do I overcome objections?
  • How do I make a better cold call?
  • How do I leave a better voicemail on a first call?
  • How do I close a sale?

Most of the people asking these questions only have nine Twitter followers. Maybe less. Maybe none. Or maybe they aren’t even on Twitter, and that’s why they’re stuck on the old path where the road is blocked forever.

And, worse, you get angry at me when I tell you what to do and how to win.

If you’re stuck in the ’80s, the best answer I can give you is to buy (or invent) a time machine, set it for 1980 and go back and live there. You’ll have 10 years to hustle and struggle.

Reality: The days of selling the old way are not only gone, they’re annoying. Not to me. They’re annoying to your customer and your potential customer.

Ever hear of referrals?

Ever hear of testimonials?

Ever hear of networking?

Ever thought about speaking at civic organizations?

Ever thought about writing a column for the local business weekly or your industry trade publication?

If you spent the same amount of time earning referrals as you do making cold calls, your numbers would increase, you’d close more sales, your aggravation factor would drop to zero, you’d make more money, you’d be infinitely happier on the job and your job happiness would skyrocket (in spite of your boss).

And those answers require zero technology.

Now, take a look at what’s new.

Here are some of the value-based strategies from the past 10 years:

  • your personal website with your philosophy of how you treat customers;
  • your personal blog with posts of interest;
  • your business Facebook page with customer interactions;
  • your video testimonials on YouTube;
  • your LinkedIn connections;
  • your once-a-day value tweet; and
  • your weekly value email magazine

Big picture: Attract leads, earn referrals. They are 100 times more powerful and more profitable than the common cold call.

Action plan: Study your customers one at a time. It’s the first step to understanding them and their needs. Let them Google you and be impressed.

Caution: If you go into a sales appointment sounding like you know everything, it can only embarrass, and exclude, you. If you haven’t done the research, you’ll look like an unprepared fool. When you have information from the Internet about the person, and his or her business, it will help you formulate questions and generate ideas, the real elements of selling in today’s world.

The new world of sales: The Internet and business social media are the new order of selling. They’re the new frontier. But first you have to believe it’s worth it, resolve to make a plan, dedicate yourself to hard work for a year and discipline yourself to daily execution.

Result: a value-based sale, not a lowest price/lowest profit transaction.

And, just to be clear, these strategies are not new. All of them are already being used.

Hopefully not by your competition.

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of “The Sales Bible” and “The Little Red Book of Selling.” President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs sales meetings and conducts Internet training on selling and customer service at www.trainone.com.

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