Old School Sales Still Work
Lead generation through social media has become the new “norm.” Data analytics now enables customers to be notified of products and services they should consider while shopping in stores. If you walked into a car dealership, another dealership may advertise to you when you leave the premises across almost every medium available– Facebook, LinkedIn, banner ads, app push notifications, etc. Restaurants where you recently dined will advertise to you shortly after on visiting websites.
The sales process has been automated at almost every turn. But what does this mean for salespeople? Will technology completely replace the job of a salesperson? Sadly, I believe in some industries, this may be the case. Salespeople will be replaced not only by technology but also by customer service personnel who can be paid far less than talented salespeople.
Yet, I still wonder– can an online ad really lead the end-user to the finish line of a sale without a human closer? Salespeople need to adapt to survive the advances in technology. They must understand today more than ever where their strengths lie as human beings and where robots fall short. Becoming a client’s trusted advisor will keep salespeople in the game. This is how we will maximize earnings potential. No matter what type of sales you may be in, applying your expertise and providing outstanding counsel to your client will outplay anything else.
The Power of Face Time
Taking time to meet with your clients in-person or at the least speaking to them consistently on the phone will also help achieve not only far better results short-term, but maintain strong relationships that you can count on for future deals. Although communication via email, text messages and networking suffice, nothing beats having a conversation with your client face-to-face or hearing the tone of their voice via phone.
When I first got started in the business, it was a requirement for us to make at least 50 connections a day in order to attract new business. Some required their salespeople to come back each day with at least 50 business cards. Others demanded that salespeople make at least 100 calls per day.
I recently hired two new sales agents who we are beginning to train. In the first week, I had them making phone calls to get comfortable with cold-calling. They both averaged about 35 calls a day with some success. Although calls are fewer, they are higher quality. Instead of “dialing for dollars,” each agent today takes time to study each person and their business before dialing out to a potential customer. They educate themselves on what their potential needs may be so that they can offer relevant services from the start.
In their second week of training, I selected specific streets in San Francisco and asked them to cold call each building tenant. I asked them to first study the building they were in, then study the current space and learn if the space is being properly utilized. Then I asked them to go in-person and present themselves to the tenants. The results of this training were amazing! Twenty percent of the time, the agents were not only able to speak to the office managers, but also the decision makers of the company. They were also able to learn more in-person about whether or not the company would need move soon, what their company size was, and their biggest needs in office space. The first day, they came back with two solid leads and the second day came back with four.
In another case, I had an agent that was texting back and forth to his client. His client was considering taking an offer he had just received ahead of getting the listing on his property. The offer was strong and my agent was asked for his opinion, even though he was not a part of the transaction deal she was considering. I had advised him strongly to go by and see her in-person instead of texting her. When he saw her in person, he was able to convince his client that it would be best to offer the property to the open market and see if they can secure a stronger offer, before accepting the first offer presented.
Personal conduct will beat social media. Maybe not all the time, but most of the time. Yes, it is important to utilize the technology and tools of today to improve our results. But it’s also important to note that sometimes “old school” techniques still work.
-- Hans Hansson, Starboard Commercial/TCN Worldwide