Sales techniques are transformed from time to time. This is a natural process. However, the pace at which and the direction in which things are changing due to the virus are not natural. Many believe that it is almost impossible to sell right now because everyone is cautious. Others are reporting the exact opposite, saying that the market is full of opportunity at the moment. One thing is for sure: if anyone decides to start selling now, they have to be aware that their product or service has to meet professional standards and should be novel. And one more important thing: “no bullshit”!
Traditional sales were characterised by influencing customers with half-truths, even up to a few decades ago. Of course, there were intelligent forms of this as well as less intelligent ones. One thing is for sure: sellers who communicate a lot were at an advantage in this field. As a result, all companies focused on making sure that these types of people represented the majority in their sales teams. Even if they knew that these people won’t pay attention to details and will not learn every little thing about the product or service. But this was not really what was expected from them. Sales representatives are clever, of course, and they could sell themselves during their interviews as well. Therefore, the first sentence to come out of their mouth was always that they, of course, want to learn everything about the product, and it is important to them to be prepared from a professional point of view. Bullshit! They tend to pick at the surface of the information, and when it comes to technical questions, they just change the topic. If the negotiator on the other side is not sufficiently prepared, this tactic works. In addition, everyone just accepted that this is how the field of sales works. On the other hand, there have been companies that put a lot of emphasis on unquestionable professional standards; however, they were generally unable to find the middle ground, and so their professional sales methods got lost in the details, they had difficulties building new relations since no true, proactive sales activities were being performed at these companies. Although this was not really an issue since most companies were not looking for new solutions. “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it”, as they say, but this is only true in general since there are always innovative companies that break this rule. However, new relationships or contacts that did not arrive with recommendations still tended not to lead anywhere. As a result, the traditional concept of cold connections disappeared from the market. It at least became very rare in Europe, and thus among the businesspeople of the old continent, the traditional and quite proactive US-style sales were starting to fall out of favour as well.
Holding onto the routine
We have a market that is no longer used to making new connections in general. However, the current situation requires complete renewal. What can we do in this case? Well, most companies are struggling with this and try to postpone, push back, and prolong the renewal process. The brain already knows what to do, but routine is king. Of course, we assume that analytics showing how proactive and ready for change they have been issued with respect to all managers already; however, a portion of these “certificates” was misleading at best. This is really hurting companies at the moment since they would like to go in a new direction, but they have no one in-house to develop a plan, and even if there is someone, the majority of the employees do not want to start moving towards this brave new world despite constantly repeating how much they agree with the plans. This is unfortunately true for sales as well. This is a brand-new situation, but everyone is trying to adapt the existing, traditional solutions, hoping that this will make everything right. However, it is clear that things like “cold connections” are becoming popular again. This traditional way to contact potential customers by obtaining the contact details of the decision-maker and getting in contact with them without knowing them at all. This is because real decision-makers are awaiting new enquiries, new ideas, and possible solutions. This is a huge challenge for those working in sales, since cold connections are typically the least favoured form of selling a product or service. This is when real sales experts ask what they are doing in sales if this is how they think. Truly, what is this kind of thinking doing in sales?