The Rules of Selling Have Changed!
The old fashioned sales routine of cold calls, telemarketing, pounding the pavement, knocking on doors, ignoring “No Solicitors” signs and trying to visit people who don’t want to see you is DEAD.
I spent nearly ten years of my life making unsolicited calls and visits, trying to beat down doors and windows, climbing over barbed wire fences, burning up shoe leather, and inventing excuses to go see people who didn’t want to see me. Can you relate to this?: You call the guy on the phone: “Hi, I’m going to be in the area next Tuesday and I was hoping I could drop by and see you.” as though you being in his neighborhood constituted any sort of reason for him to change his plans for that day.
You only get one chance to make a first impression. If the customers’ first impression of you is that you’re just another sales guy who wants to take away his precious time, then you’ve got one foot in the grave before you’ve even started.
Prospecting = Obsolete Sales Technology
If you don’t remember anything else from our time together, remember this: that type of selling is obsolete. Dead. Ancient technology. Irrelevant. It’s like vinyl records, 8 track tapes, carburetors and Disco.
Now Vinyl records still have their place in the world; some audio fanatics still think they sound better than CD’s. There are still swap meets where 8 track tape aficionados smoke weed and remember the ’70’s. There’s probably still a carburetor shop in the town where you live, and as far as Disco is concerned. well, you never know.
But no sane person is going to build any kind of real business on those things. There are going to be times when you need to pick up the phone and find someone who will see you. But that should be the exception, never the rule. And if you’re building your business on old fashioned, outdated, manual labor grunt work, then you’re violating every trend. Which means you’re wasting huge amounts of time and money, antagonizing potential customers and missing out on very significant opportunities.
A visionary woman named Faith Popcorn wrote a book called The Popcorn Report. She said the trend in the 1990’s was ‘Cocooning’-which basically means people don’t want to be bothered! There’s no question, if they were “cocooning” ten years ago, then today they’re locking themselves in a fortress! Some people hide behind their computer, reading their e-mails all day long, but won’t even answer the telephone.
You’ve probably got a lot of customers just like that, don’t you? If you’re going to effectively sell to them, you’re going to have to find a way to get invited – not as an unwelcome pest, but as a welcome guest.
Who Finds Who First is Very, Very Important!
Imagine these scenes. It could be any two situations where there’s a buyer and a seller…
Scene 1: A buyer has a problem and needs to solve it. You get lucky and just happen to call the buyer that same day. The buyer was on your ‘list’ and you were able to show him a solution to that very problem.
Scene 2: Same buyer. Has the same problem and needs to solve it. He starts keeping an eye out for a solution. Talks to a friend, or notices an ad, or looks in the yellow pages, reads an article in a magazine – and hears about you. Calls you on the phone to see if you can help.
Which situation is most typical for you? Which one do you like more? Scene 1 or scene 2? Well, unless you enjoy making phone calls that are uncomfortable both for you and the guy on the other end of the line, you’d rather be living in scene #2, wouldn’t you? Of course you would.
But there’s another factor that’s very, very important: In scene 2, you ALSO have TWICE the chance of getting the buyer’s business as you do in scene 1.
Why? Because the buyer found you first. In scene #1 you were prospecting. In scene #2 you were positioning yourself. The buyer naturally has more respect for you in scene #2 because everyone knows you must climb the mountain to find the guru. Gurus don’t come down from the mountain hunting for disciples. Who calls who first is very, very important.