The more things change, the more they stay the same. This old adage holds true in many industries and the sales industry is certainly no exception. It seems there is a belief held by many of the so-called “gurus” of sales development that if you’re still using old-fashioned sales techniques that you’re doomed to fail.
“Today’s more informed customers demand a totally new way to engage in a sales cycle,” or so the belief goes.
But is it smart for a sales professional to throw away all the sales skills and techniques that some consider being old fashioned?
Judge for yourself and don’t be surprised if you discover that what is being presented as “the new school” is nothing more than the “old school” repackaged,
New way of Sales
Has a customer ever suggested you’re too old fashioned? Probably not. Certainly, I haven’t, unless you count the countless times I have been told that “it is a breath of fresh air to see that the old customer service is not gone away….”
Have you ever been told that you are too “old fashioned” for a job you’ve interviewed for? That’s much more likely to have happened.
The belief among many in sales leadership positions is that the only way for a sales rep to make it in the industry is to get fully on board with all things new.
But in truth, the best things about the new school of sales are truly pages right out of the old-school sales playbook. This means that in a very real way, there are no lines separating the old and new school of sales. The only thing that makes them appear to be different are the people trying to make a money telling sales reps they need to join the new school of sales!
I firmly believe that these are the guys hiding behind social media and the guys who are afraid of hard work and personal interaction.
Old Fashioned Sales
No matter how much technology you have at your fingertips, many sales are made in a very “old fashioned” manner.
Here’s a truth that never goes out of style: People love to buy, but hate being sold.
Old fashioned sales are all about meeting with your customers, getting to know and understand them, identifying their pain points and providing solutions to make those pain points go away.
Is the Relationship Sales Model Still Valid?
If you polled 100 sales reps and asked them how they would define “old school sales,” many of them would say old school sales are dependent on building relationships. At its core, the old school of sales is all about relationships.
But the relationship sales model is much more than getting on a first name basis with your customers.
It is about building trust and rapport and getting to the position where you are seen as a valuable partner and not just a vendor from whom a customer occasionally buys from.
If you want to be a vendor, open up your own low priced warehouse and sell as many items to customers around the world. But don’t ever expect to build any lasting or influential relationships when you are wearing your vendor hat!
Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss?
One of the oldest trends in the sales industry is hiring sales professionals on a temporary basis. While many sales professionals prefer to accept a full-time position that includes a benefits package, some of the most successful and at the top of leadership in sales choose a more old-fashioned approach to their career.
But don’t think that being a contracted sales director is old fashioned and rare these days. The growing trend for many industries is to hire more contracted directors and employees than ever before.