Sales is dead; long live sales-selling

Sales is Dead, Long Live Sales | eps 59 #inthelab

In school we were taught that sales is one of if not the most important function of business. Without sales you don’t exist. Sales people made the most money, had the best schedules and took the most time off. It was good to be a sales person.

Sales rules all.

 sell me this pen!

Then it went overboard, movies glorified the best sales people, ABC! ALWAYS BE CLOSING! Don’t forget “Coffee’s for closers!” I would repeat lines from the Wolf of Wall Street but they’re far too vulgar.

Then something happened. These amazing sales people seem more like sleazy used car sales people than glorified titans of business.

Ever had someone you trust “sell” you something you didn’t need and then you lose all respect and never talk to that person ever again?

My story started in University on the Business Students Society (BSS). Ironically enough the place where I learned that integrity is the number one trait to have in business. I understand why now. A fellow on the BSS was working at the Wireless Age, he told me if I came and bought a phone from him he’d “hook me up”. I trusted him, I had a lot of reasons to. We were going to school together, why the hell would he screw me over? 

I go in and get an upgrade to a smartphone I never needed at the time. He over sold me on the monthly plan and the warranty, saying “you can basically throw the phone across the room tomorrow and we have to replace it! Just get the extended warranty, trust me.” It seemed too good to be true, those last two words ringing in my ear months later….. “trust me”.

Six months into my first Blackberry and the phone stops working, inconvenient but it’s OKAY, remember? I got the extra insurance! I’m not an idiot. I’ll just walk in and replace it like he told me!

Nope. It was too good to be true. 

They didn’t know what was wrong and they had to ship it off to get it looked it. The “no matter what we’ll replace it don’t you worry!” Was the biggest lie ever! I was pissed! This was the first time I actually got screwed over by a sales person (well besides buying a 6 month gym membership at “Acceleration” in the northend then the place closes their doors two weeks later). This was different. I trust a human, a human I still see from time to time. This was pre-social media era, I can just imagine the shit-storm I’d make today (though I don’t think I’d be duped so effectively by a sales person). I’ve never gone back to that cell phone provider since and am very quick to let other know how I feel about them.

Long story short I don’t talk to that individual anymore, I don’t trust him. When you are a sales person and you sell somebody something they don’t want, they don’t forget. They remember because they want to make sure to never waste money on whatever that person is selling ever again. What a way to ruin a reputation. You may think that “selling” is just a way of doing business but what ends up happening is you turn people away from your brand for good.

Don’t be like that guy, no sale is worth ruining a relationship

What happened to sales? Why do we loathe being sold to so much?

In class the other day I had gone on my tirade about why I don’t believe in advertising and a student raised her hand and asked “so you don’t call people and try to sell them a website by telling how bad your current website is?”

I replied “we would never do something so insane, did…did that actually happen?”. Turns out a local agency here in Regina was cold calling businesses around the Regina area (Moose Jaw) and trying to sell them websites over the phone. Could you imagine answering the phone and being convinced that you need a new website?

I can’t even imagine. 

The excuse is going to be, “well yeah you’ll call 20 and piss off 19, if you sell to that one person it’s all worth it!”. I heard that from a car sales-person. I cringe when I think of the people who have to work at companies that still believe that cold call sales still work.

Have you ever bought something over the phone? Have you purchased anything recently that you weren’t in the market for? I don’t think so.

Cold call sales is dead.

You can’t convince me, no matter the psychological tricks you use, I’m not buying. So why do people still insist in cold calling to increase their business?

Because it works! 

I bet that local company sells at least 1 or 2 websites for every 10 called. Now guilting someone into buying your product is hardly a way to grow a loyal following.

That’s the disconnect though, most traditional sales people don’t care about the long term value of the customer, they care about their bonus in two weeks. That’s why when companies use aggressive sales tactics they generally don’t have repeat buyers, and that’s even worse than no buyers.

When someone buys from you convinced by a sales person they may not like what they get, almost guaranteeing they won’t be back. Conversely if you believe in permission marketing, the only folks you’re going to sell to are the ones you know you can help because they’ve self selected to need what you provide.

There’s a big difference in convincing someone to buy what you sell and allowing someone to convince themselves to buy what you’re selling.

This is precisely why we don’t believe in traditional sales, it’s not sustainable. 

“Warm call” sales is the future.

Making a lot of “warm calls” is easy. The second you ask for the sale is the moment you won’t get it. The warm-call sales tactic is to “warm” people up to your company. This can easily be done on social media, in real life, and on almost all platforms. Promoting organizations you believe in, sharing what other companies are doing, and trying to “meet” them before they meet you. The sales process can take months if not years, we don’t make purchasing decisions in a moment, more like hundreds of moments added up. Creating a “warm” impression on your potential customers is how you begin the sales process. Over time giving people more and more reasons why they would want to buy, instead of simply telling people to buy.

Whether you’re a local plumber, electrician, contractor, website creator, or coffee shop, you can interact with people online at any time. You can interact with any potential person or organization that may end up being a customer. Every day for a half hour you could identify people on your social media platform of choice and engage them, share their content, and make a joke every now and then.

Sales will never be the same again

Whether you agree that sales is dead or not, it has changed forever. Be prepared to have your “sales pitch” posted all over social media, specially if it’s particularly sleazy. Focus on the long term sale, helping people, and doing what’s difficult. It’s easy to try and maximize each and every sale, it’s hard to create loyalty by being honest with people and forgoing revenue.

Do the right thing. Help people, don’t over sell. The best sales people of 2017 and beyond are the people we trust the most. Be trustworthy and you’ll sell more than you could ever imagine.