Sales Shift – That Doesn’t Work Anymore

“21 appointments next week” I proudly offered before ingesting a large amount of a very cold tap beer at our Friday afternoon happy hour to close the week.

“Incredible! You are going to have a huge week!” my friend replied.  He understood.  He also made his living making sales.

Another round.  After all it was time to celebrate.  That was a record.  A new personal best. 21 new business meetings in 5 business days.  Each one of those appointments was secured via good, old fashioned cold calling.  You smiled, dialed, pushed and pressed until a 60 minute face to face was locked or you didn’t pay the bills.  Simple.

I planned to head out that Sunday evening and make the two hour drive from Cincinnati to Indianapolis.   I covered the whole state of Indiana and my trunk would be full with the required 21 presentation kits.  Armed with a map of Indiana I was “prepared” to hustle and win.

My friend was right.  I had a huge week.  I called on and closed BMG Music.  Remember BMG Music Club?  12 CD’s for the price of one?   At the time their business was booming and they became a very big client.

That was selling then.  This is now.  Not much of what I did then would pass as sales competency now.

The world changed. BMG Music?  Out of business.  That old school approach to professional selling? Dead end.

The best sellers are making the sales shift, gaining a huge competitive advantage and exploding past plan.

Unfortunately this is the week that a lot of sales professionals part company with their organization for missing plan the previous year.  I had a CEO just say this to me directly, “show me a sales organization where a bunch of sellers who missed plan the previous year are still employed and I’ll show you an executive team that doesn’t know how to establish and adjust targets and plans.” That is tough.  That is sales.

Missing plan isn’t an option for the best sellers.

The best sellers today are experts.  They rigorously prepare for every prospective client encounter and customize solutions to fit for the specific opportunity {TIP:  You cannot do that 21 times in one week}.  The best sellers know how to deliver value first, earn a reputation and wield influence. Yes, they still hustle.  The difference?

I don’t cold call anymore.  I don’t enjoy it and more importantly the effort/outcome equation doesn’t compute.  Time is a precious commodity and there are simply more efficient/effective ways to end up with a calendar full of quality meetings with qualified decision makers eager to do business.

I prefer warm calling and social selling (click the enclosed link for my Social Selling Keynote).

More effective.  More fun.  Makes it a whole lot easier to make plan.  New techniques, tools and technology give the more progressive sales pro an abundance of opportunity and huge advantage in competitive selling situations.

Knowing that the way we connect, communicate and ultimately make decisions has changed means knowing that professional selling requires a new and improved approach.

One constant does remain.

Sales drives the business.  All of the ideas, innovation, strategy, interpersonal relationships and process initiatives don’t matter much if you don’t have the revenue to turn on the lights.

Sales success today requires a shift in approach, strategy, skill and competency.  Are you ready?

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