Jim looked at his computer and then he just laughed. He;s seen this before. The other day he had received a LinkedIn invite from a new contact. As is his process, he took a little time investigated and determined the person was for real. So he accepted their connection request.
One day later and he gets a pitch to “buy now” from the same person. It’s getting to the point where he doesn’t even know if you should log into LinkedIn because everybody is pitching everybody.
More and more technology is getting hijacked by bad sales people.
Meanwhile, some people are still actually closing sales in this world of technology. Somehow they are getting through the clutter, getting to their customers, and closing deals.
What’s the difference between those that are struggling and those that are really making it? Real relationships.
So how do we sell more in the world of technology and get to real relationships?
Gina Trimarco recently joined me on the Future Done Right™ Show and I’m going to share some of the key findings from her and my experience in this article.
1. Technology Can Be Your Friend
With all the technology around us it’s actually possible to close sales and use technology has a positive tool. In my interview Gina we talked about the fact that you could indeed use technology to enable sales.
The key is to think of technology as a tool in closing a sale rather than the only item in the sale process. Just like you wouldn’t walk up to somebody in a bar restaurant and start immediately trying to close them on purchasing your goods or services you can’t do the same through technology either. But you can use technology as a tool.
For instance, technology enables you to connect with people. And that’s the key “connect”. You actually have to bridge the gap to them and form a relationship not just add them to your social media roles. Technology will allow you to locate the person, and in many cases get a great deal of background information.
That background information can, in turn, be used as a conversation starter to start moving the relationship and sales process forward. But you have to move from just technology to relationships.
2. Technology Can Be Your Fo
Technology can also work against you. The overuse, or the misuse of Technology, can lead to bad relationships. Technology can also lead to missed relationships – causing us to not deepen relationships that should have been developed.
For instance, I recently talked to a young sales rep on social media. They were feeling pressure to make sales, now, and they were pitching everyone. What the young sales rep didn’t realize is that if they were patient and actually got to know the people they were talking to they may be developing lead sources. Pitching too soon could close the door to someone who, although they may not be your buyer, might be able to refer you to your prospects.
Technology can definitely work against you and harm you.
The key is to use technology the right way.
3. A Lot of People Are Messing It Up For Us
To make the difficult even harder, there are a lot of people out there that are messing things up for us. Just like Jim with his experience on LinkedIn most people are starting to get leery about social media connections. Because other people are poisoning the water and doing the wrong things with their relationships, many of us are starting with a strike against us.
That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to build relationships and close sales in the world of technology, but some avenues are getting harder. Additionally, we need to adjust our strategies in the reality of what others are doing so that we can be different and show who we truly are.
4. Most of Us Are Missing Relationships
Looking globally at what I see with most sales reps, most people are missing the concepts of relationships. As Gina mentioned on the Future Done Right™ Show some people are in a purely transactional selling situation. As such, these individuals don’t need to worry about relationships.
But for most of us in sales, particularly of those and business-to-business sales, we must think about relationships and the long-term ramifications of our actions. And that means we need to develop relationships with our potential buyers so they can know us.
People want to buy from people that they have a relationship with. This becomes particularly important when there’s a risk that there will be defects or problems with the item sold. People want somebody to get back to deal with their problems.
So we really need to focus on being different about relationships than everybody else. If we can be the ones that actually have relationships with our customers and prospects we can have better outcomes.
5. Real Relationships Is Where It Is At
Real relationships are where the sales are anyway. People spend significant money with the people they know, like and trust. Technology doesn’t change that. In some ways technology can enable relationships in ways that weren’t possible in the past. Careful use of the telephone and video conferencing technology can bring people together over vast distances.
But the misuse of Technology can harm relationships. Miscommunications over text, the overuse of automation and other abusive strategies can lead to negative outcomes.
The key is regardless of the use or non-use of technology is to keep a focus on real relationships and what is developing between the individuals.
6. Dealing With Problems
Another frustration with technology in sales is the potential overuse of technology to deal with problems. All too many of us have had a problem with a product or service and then we get lost in a technological maze. It’s really not acceptable for a company to openly accept your money when everything is good but then cut and run when there’s a problem.
We need to avoid the temptation to go hide behind our technology. Instead use technology to connect to your customers and answer their calls and needs rather than avoid them. They’ll be back to buy more from you if you do.
7. Where The Big Sales Come From
If you’re like most sales people you dream of getting that huge sale. The “elephant” close.
The mythical dream is to cold call somebody and they immediately buy what you’re selling. But this is rarely the case.
Having studied the sales industry for quite some time now and having worked with a number of salespeople the truth is the big sales almost always come from relationships. People will spend significant money with people they know, like and trust.
But it’s not necessarily somebody that they’ve been doing business with. Sometimes the relationship is there and a big sale becomes because of a sudden shift.
Sales trainer and consultant Deb Mzrek talks about a time where she kept going to a prospect’s office to build relationships and get to know the prospect. She would show up every day and wait to see if she could talk to somebody. Over a long time they got to know that she would be there waiting for a potential meeting but Deb still wasn’t closing sales.
Then, one day, the prospects existing vendor made an error on order. The prospect rushed out and grab Deb from the lobby (knowing she would be there) and the next day she closed the significant piece of business.
Yet another example of big sales coming from relationships. Technology can be an aid in getting to that relationship but that relationship needs to truly exist between two people who know, like and trust each other.
The big sale you seek is hiding behind a relationship and that relationship needs to be designed and developed despite technology.
Technology is amazing it enables a lot of the life that we enjoy today. We get to do many of the things we get to do in life because we have the technology. And there’s no doubt that having communication with our friends and family over long distances is a great plus. The ability to keep in touch with prospects and to find new prospects through technology is very powerful also.
But technology can also be used in the wrong way. Misused technology can really harm the development of real relationships and actually drive your sales numbers lower. So we need to use technology the right way.
If you really want to leverage sales and step up to the next level start thinking about technology as an available tool to support real relationships rather than a substitute for it.
By: The Our Shawn McBride who is constantly studying the Future of Business as the host of The Future Done Right(TM) Show. If you want regular content on the future of business subscribe to get new blog posts from us here.
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