Jan 21, 2009

Is Sales Getting Harder?

I just got off the phone with a former sales associate. He made a statement that, at first, I took at face value. However, this comment is eating at me: "Sales is getting harder all the time."

Is selling getting harder, truly?

Do you agree? Or do you disagree?

After pondering the idea, I've decided that selling is NOT getting harder. Selling in the new millennium is just different. For example, fifty years ago, people used the typewriter to write a sales letter. If they wanted to contact a prospect, they basically used one of several methods: in-person, over the phone, writing a letter, sending a wire, playing golf together, conventions, or over a meal.

Today, we have more tools: online social networks (LinkedIn, ecademy, Plaxo, Facebook, etc.), email, the telephone, voicemail, in-person, writing a letter, sending a FedEx, conventions, golf, or over a meal.

Our tools to contact and track prospects may have improved, but there are more people selling to our prospects every day. So, in my mind, the tools equalize with the quantity of people selling to the prospect: zero-sum-gain there.

In order to sell, we've always had to be intelligent. We've always had to listen to the prospect, ask smart questions about their business, do our homework and research on the prospect's company, and provide solid solutions. Price is always a variable issue that is relative, as well.

So, considering all things, I don't think selling is harder than ever before. It isn't easier, either (exception: people who can automate their entire sales process when they are selling an online product).

The selling profession is still challenging and a dynamic way to earn a living. I believe the opportunity always exists for the salesperson who is innovative, works hard enough, and targets prospects that maximize their time. I've always been great at following-up, and I'm tenacious. But when I add innovative techniques, and when I target prospects that produce big wins, I always win big. Can you relate?

If certain prospects aren't buying, switch to prospects who CAN buy right now. It's like moving your boat when fishing to find a better hole to fish in. Right?

My advice is to avoid the naysayers who say "we can't sell in this economy" and instead put your ears back and go do what you've always done best, only better. The odds are you'll have a banner year.

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