I read a blog post earlier in the year by Anthony Iannarino, the author of The Lost Art of Closing. The article was titled, ‘The Modern Salesperson Isn’t Digital” and it really hit home. He talks about the reliance on tools rather than our own skills and our ability to connect as people. Isn’t it unsettling to walk through the office these days and hear the consistent click of keyboards instead of voices. It seems like everyone is communicating by email or, by text – our voices have disappeared.
People email each other to resolve a problem, to introduce themselves, to say hello. Maybe it’s time to think outside the box in a kind of “old school way.” How about making a phone call, and what about a face to face? Sales professionals are always looking for more tools, a better app, a newer platform. Maybe the best way to build customer relationships is through truly knowing the customer. Yesterday’s salespeople often had nothing more than the tenant registers that hung in the lobbies of office buildings – that was their tool. Usually these boards were positioned next to the elevator showing the company name and floor/suite number. They would start at the top floor and work their way down. The best part of that scenario was walking in the door and getting an immediate feel for the organization’s vibe – their culture –the kind of people who worked there. The front desk has always been and still is, an incredible source of knowledge about any company. Those sales professionals were smart enough to make friends with the “gatekeepers.” That’s the original strategy “LinkedIn” is built on and I still believe that personal attention – going live, face-to-face is the true essence of “social selling.”
Anthony’s article tells you that the modern salesperson isn’t digital. Digital is a tool and won’t help you if you aren’t a value creator, a subject matter expert, someone who can bring new ideas to your clients and show how you might help your clients change and execute new solutions. Owning the most expensive culinary equipment and assorted gadgets won’t make you a quality chef in the kitchen. You have to read, taste, experiment, create your own recipes. Selling is just like that – Anthony says it best, “the ability to create value for the client in an age of continuous, accelerating, disruptive change is what makes a modern salesperson.” My own personal mantra is to strive for ABR instead of ABC, I encourage our team to Always Build Relationships versus Always Be Closing. Because when you build relationships any sales that result are a natural part of the bond you create – you can’t be a “trusted advisor” (even if your LinkedIn profile says you are) – without earning that badge first. Making a sale earns you a commission, making a relationship often earns you a client for life.